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[Being Two Papers Read before the Statistical Society of London in 1878 
and 1879 respectively, and Reprinted from its Journal.'] 


ETC., ETC., 



AUG If 79 







Since these papers were read, the demand for copies 
has been considerable — far beyond the regulation allowance 
of author's copies : there was no way of meeting this 
except by the reprint of a limited issue. 

As stated in Part II, the author is by no means 
confident that he has adopted the very best mode of 
treating the wide subject of Famines. He adopted that 
mode which seemed best suited to the Journal wherein 
the papers originally appeared ; and the same arrangement 
is here retained. 

Bblsizk Pabk Gabdens, London, N.W. 
May, 1879. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

would term the inordinate growth of population ; and in that sense 
as being one of the means devised for the regulation of the universe. 
Such a view appears to me to be altogether incompatible with any 
ideas of Divine wisdom : it can only be such a clumsy and cruel 
expedient, as might be resorted to in the working out of a design 
wherein wisdom had taken no part. The occurrence of famines 
would appear to me to be likely to result rather from the failure of 
human means and foresight in many instances than otherwise. In 
my table I have been careful to note the assigned cause wherever 
the records furnish any. I think it will be convenient at this point 
to present the table. It takes us at once from the domain of 
speculation into that of history. The authorities from which the 
materials of the table were drawn, are so numerous that it is 
impossible, except occasionally, to make any reference to them. 











Table I. — Chronology of Famines, 

The Scriptures speak of several famines which had been in Palestine 
and in the neighbouring countries, as that in the time of Abraham 
(Gen. xii, 10), and again in the time of Isaac (Gen. xxvi, 1). 

Egypt. The seven years' famine (Gen. xli, 27) began this year. It 
was not confined to Egypt, but extended to Palestine at least, if not 
further. Vide v. 56. 

India. During the reign of the Emperor Jei-chund, extending over 
this period, there was a great pestilence and famine. 

Rome. Visited by a famine. 
„ Famine. Thousands threw themselves into the Tiber. 

Rome. Famine. 

Ireland. A general fruitlessness, giving rise to famine and great 

Judea. " Desolated by a famine." 
Greece. Famine. 
England. Grievous famine. 
Ireland. Great scarcity. 
England and Scotland. Famine. 
Britain. From long rains. 

„ " After a pillar of fire seen several nights in the air." 
Wales. Grievous. 
England. Multitudes starved. 

„ After severe frost and snow. 

Rome. Famine. 
Ireland. General scarcity j bad harvest ; mortality and emigration, 

" so that lands and houses, territories and tribes, were emptied." — 

First notice of emigration. 
Scotland. " Thousands were starved." 

„ " Most grievous. 

Wales. Thousands were " pined to death." 
Britain. People ate the bark of trees and roots. 

„ Famine all through. 
Wales. After a comet. 
Scotland. Thousands died ; " most grievous and fatal " for four 

years. — Shobt. 
Asia Minor. A famine prevailed in Cappadocia. 
England. 40,000 perished. [Shobt gives this in a.d. 338 (?)308.] 
Britain. Generally, severe famine. 

the World : Past and Present. 









Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

Antioch. This city was afflicted by so terrible a famine that a 
bushel of wheat was sold for 400 pieces of silver. During this 
grievous distress Constantino sent to .the Bishop 30,000 bushels of 
corn, besides an immense quantity of all kinds of provisions, to be 
distributed among the ecclesiastics, widows, orphans, &c. — Ency, 

Syria. Also plague. 

Phrygia. Awful famine. 

Antioch. Reign of Theodosius the Great, again visited by a famine, 
"accompanied with a grievous plague;" also "terrible" famine 
amongst the Goths. 

Rome. Followed by a plague. 

Italy. Famine. 

Britain. After a comet. 

Constantinople. Severe famine. 

Italy. When parents ate their children. — Dttfresnoy. 

Britain. " And bad fatal air." — Shobt. 

Northern Nations. A famine, partly from locusts. 

Scotland. After a comet. 

Africa. From drought. 

Britain. " Most afflictive." 

Venice. A famine. The city relieved by Theodoric the Great. 

Scotland. " Terrible." 

North Wales. Famine. 

South Wales. And a small plague. 

Ireland. Destruction of food and scarcity, lasted four years. 

Scotland. Dearth ; also in Wales. 

Italy. Great famine. 
„ Famine. 

Scotland. " Fatal." 

England. From a tempest that raised a great flood. 

„ Drought from 10th January to September ; and locusts. 

France. Famine. 

England. From heat and drought. 

Britain. Grievous. 

Ireland. Great famine preceding second appearance of Buidhe 

Scotland. Grievous. 

France. Great famine. 

Ireland. Great scarcity ; and in following year. 

Britain. From three years' drought. 

Syria and Libya. Famine. 

England \ Famine and pestilence during three years, " so that men 

Ireland J ate each other." 

Italy. Three years' famine. 

Wales. Famine. 

Syria. Famine. 

England, Wales, and Scotland. Great famine. 

Wales. Dearth. 

Scotland. Famine. 

Ireland. Great famine throughout the kingdom ; and more or less 
for several years. 

Ireland. Famine and an earthquake. 
,, Famine from drought. 

Scotland. " With plague." 
Wales. Grievous. 

Scotland. Dearth. 

England. " After many meteors ; " and in other parts of the 

Scotland. « Terrible." 


Walford — On the Famines of 






















«74>0— 40... 





















Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

"England. " Thousands starve ;" also in Scotland, according to 

Ireland. Great dearth. 
Wales. " The ground covered with dead bodies of men and beasts." 

— Shobt. 
Bulgaria. Great famine. 
Paris. Famine prevailed. 
Italy and Germany. Famine. 
Scotland. A four years' famine began. 

„ With a plague. 

Paris. Suffered again from famine. 
England. " From ugly locusts." 
Paris. Suffered again from famine. 
Universal famine prevailed. 
Italy. "Terrible/' 
England. " Grievous two years." 
Scotland. Great dearth. 
Ireland. Famine from invasion of locusts. 
Paris. This city again suffers from famine. 
France. " Sore famine." 
England. Famine. 
Wales. Famine. 
France. Famine. 
Scotland. After a comet ; four years, " till people began to devour 

one another." — Shobt. 
France. Famine. 
Italy. " Shocking." 

England, Wales, and Scotland. Great famine, which lasts four years. 
England. Famine caused by frost. 
Ireland. An intolerable famine, " so that parents sold their children 

for food." • 

Europe. Chiefly Germany and Scotland. 
England. " All grain burnt by the winds." — Shobt. 
Paris. A great number of inhabitants carried off by famine. 
England. Famine scoured the hills. 

„ This was the " great famine," micla hung or. — John of 

Albania. Dearth. 
England. From rains and barren land. 

„ " Grievous, from a rainy winter ; bad spring ; neither 

ploughing nor sowing ; snowy harvest." 
England. " Such a famine prevailed as no man could remember." 
„ " This year was the great famine in England." Sweyn 

the Dane quits in consequence. 
Wales. Attended with plague. 

England — Germany. Endless multitudes died of famine. 
Europe. Awful famine throughout Europe. " Hails, thunder, and 

lightning." — Shobt. 
Hindustan (reign of Musaood I). Great drought followed by 

famine : whole countries entirely depopulated. 
This year was remarkable for drought and famines in many parts of 

the world. — Dow's Hindustan. 
England. From rains, and plague. 

„ From great rains and locusts. — Shobt. 

Byzantine Empire. Visited by famine. 
England. About this time such a famine came on that a sextarius 

of wheat, which is usually a load for one horse, sold for 5 solidi 

and more. — Henby of Huntingdon. Lasted seven years. 
Ireland. Great famine and snow ; also in England, from snow and 


the World : Past and Present, 
























Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

Scotland. Famine extending over two years. 

England. Great famine and mortality ; from barrenness of the land. 

Mexico. Famine which caused the Toltecs to migrate. 

Hindustan. There was seven years' drought in Ghor [? Ghore, sup- 
posed to be one of the earliest seats of the Afghan race], so that 
the earth was burned up, and thousands of men and animals 
perished with heat and famine. — Dow's Hindustan. 

England. Famine after a comet j lasted two years. 

Poland. Grievous famine. 

Egypt. For seven successive years the overflow of the Nile failed, 
and with it almost the entire subsistence of the country ; while the 
rebels interrupted supplies of grain from the north. Two provinces 
were entirely depopulated ; in another half the inhabitants 
perished; while in Cairo city (El-Kahvich), the people were 
reduced to the direst straits. Bread was sold for 14 dirhemsto the 
loaf ; and all provisions being exhausted, the worst horrors of famine 
followed. The wretched resorted to cannibalism, and organised 
bands kidnapped the unwary passenger in the desolate streets, 
principally by means of ropes furnished with hooks and let down 
from the latticed windows. 

In the year 1072 the famine reached its height. It was followed by 
a pestilence, and this again was succeeded by an invading army. — 
Encyclopedia Britannica, Art. Egypt. 

England. Famine and plague after a severe winter. 

„ Normans desolated England, and in the following year 

famine spread over the northern counties of England, "so that man, 
driven by hunger, ate human, dog, and horse flesh ;" some to sus- 
tain a miserable life sold themselves for slaves. All land lying 
"between Durham and Yorke lay waste, without inhabitants or 
people to till the ground, for the space of nine years, except only the 
territory of St. John of Bewlake " [Beverley]. 

" Divers other parts of his realm were so wasted with his wars that 
for want both of husbandry and habitation, a great dearth did ensue, 
whereby many were forced to eat horses, dogs, cats, rats, and other 
loathsome and vile vermin ; yea, some abstained not from the flesh 
of men. This famine and desolation did specially rage in the north 
parts of the realm." — Harleian Miscellany, III, p. 151. 

England. Famine, followed by mortality so fierce that the living 
could take no care of the sick, nor bury the dead. — Henry of 

Constantinople. " From the multitudes of strangers." — Shoet. 

Denmark. Famine. 

England. A .great murrain of animals, and such intemperate weather 
that many died of fever and famine. — Henry db Knygkbton. 
Excessive rains. — Short. 

England. Pestilence followed by famine ; great suffering. 

Denmark. King Olaf II, surnamed the "Hungry," in consequence 
of famine in his reign. 

England. Great famine and mortality. — Stow. 

„ " Heavy-timed hunger that severely oppressed the earth." — 

Saxon Chronicle. Summer rain, tempests, and bad air. — Short. 

England. Famine from rains and floods. 

Antioch. Famine. 

England. From barren land ; then plague. 

„ Winter long and very severe ; great scarcity followed. 

Ireland. Great famine, " during which the people even ate each 

England. From tempest, hail, and a year's incessant rains. 

Jerusalem. " Plague of mice and locusts." — Short. 

England, " Great famine from long and cruel frosts." 


Walfoed — On the Famines of 





26 ..„. 






















Tablb I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

France and Germany. Famine from terrible weather $ "greatest 
plague." — Shobt. 

England. " Such a famine prevailed that everywhere in cities, vil- 
lages, and cross-roads lifeless bodies lie unburied." " By means of 
changing the coine all things became very deere, whereof an extreame 
famine did arise, and afflict the multitude of the people, even to 
death." — Penkethman. 

England. Great flood on St. Lawrence's Day ; famine in consequence 
of destruction of crops, &c. 

England. Incessant rains during the summer, " when followed in all 
England a most unheard of scarcity. A sextarius of wheat sold 

for 20*." 

Rome. Great famine. 

England. Great drought and famine. 

„ Famine, said to have lasted twelve years. — Short. 

France. Famine. 

Europe and Palestine. Famine. 

Ireland. Great famine raged in Munster, and spread all over Ireland. 

England. From rains, frost, tempest, thunder, and lightning. 

Italy. After great snow and frost. 

Said to have been a great famine all over the world. 

England. Pestilence, followed by great dearth. 

Wales. A great famine and mortality. 

England and Wales. A great famine severely afflicted both England 
and "Wales. 

Ireland. Great scarcity of food in north of Ireland. 

England, France. Famine occasioned by incessant rains. "The 
common people (vulgus pauperum) perished everywhere for lack of 
food ; and on the footsteps of famine the fiercest pestilence followed, 
in the form of an acute fever." — Walteb Hemingfobd. 

Ireland. " A cold, foodless year." 

Egypt. Famine of great severity from deficient rise of the Nile. 

England. A great mortality and famine, from long rains. 

Ireland. Agreat famine — " so that the priests ate flesh meat in Lent." 

England. Famine from a rainy summer and severe winter. 

„ A very dry winter and bad seed-time, whence followed a 

great famine. 

Ireland. A great famine throughout the country. 

Rome. After a deluge of the Tiber. 

England. Famine and plague ; 20,000 persons die in London ; people 
eat horseflesh, bark of trees, grass, &c. — Short. 

England. Great famine, " people eat their children." — Shobt. 

Hungary. Great famine from Tartar invasion. 

Germany. Famine. 

England. " By reason of embasing the coin a great penury followed." 
„ No rain from Whitsuntide to autumn ; no grass ; hence 

arose a severe famine j great mortality of man and cattle ; clearness 
of grain and scarcity of fruit. 

England. The inundations of autumn destroyed the grain and fruit, 
and pestilence followed. 

England. North winds in spring destroyed vegetation ; food failed, 
the preceding harvest having been small, and innumerable multi- 
tudes of poor people died. Fifty shiploads of wheat, barley, and 
bread were procured from Germany ; but citizens of London were 
forbidden by proclamation against dealing in same. "A great 
dearth followed this wet year pest, for a quarter of wheat was sold 
for 15*. and 20*., but the worst was in the end; there could be 
none found for money when — though many poor people were con- 
strained to eat barks of trees and horseflesh ; but many starved for 
want of food — 20,000 (as it was said) in London." — Penkethman. 

the World : Past and Present 

































Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

Ireland. Great destruction of people from plague and hunger/ 

Sicily. Terrible famine ; also in Vienna. 

England. A violent tempest and inundation, followed by a severe 

famine in the entire district of Canterbury. 
Ireland. Pestilence and famine" in the whole of Ireland. 
Poland. Famine. 
England. Short speaks of a twenty-three years' famine commencing 

this year. 
England. A tempest destroyed the seed, and corn rose to a great 

India. No rain fell in the provinces about Delhi, and there was in 

consequence a most terrible famine. — Vide Bibni's Hist, of Feroze. 
England. Severe famine j many thousands of the poor died. 

„ No grain or fruits, " so that the poor died of hunger." — 

Camden. Hall, great concussion of elements. — SrfoaT. 
Ireland. Great dearth during this and the previous and following 

Scotland. " Calamitous " famine and pestilence. 
England. 26 Edward I. " A great famine in England, chiefly want 

of wine ; so that the same could scarcely be had to minister the 

communion in the churches." — Penkethman. 
Persia ravaged by famine and pestilence. 
England, Scotland, Ireland. — Famine. 

„ Grains spoiled by the rains. Famine " so dreadful that 

the people devoured the flesh of horses, dogs, cats, and vermin." 

Parliament passed a measure limiting the price of provisions. 
Ireland. Famine and various distempers. 
Thuringia, Poland, Silesia. Lasted years in Lithuania. 
England. Universal dearth, and such a mortality, particularly of 

the poor, followed, that the living could scarcely bury the dead. 

Royal proclamation : no more beer to be made. 
Ireland. Great dearth. Eight captured Scots eaten at siege of 

Ireland. A great famine throughout the country in consequence of 

Bruce's invasion. 
England. Famine again ; this is regarded by some writers as the 

last serious famine in this country. 
Ireland. A peck of wheat sold for izs. 
England. Famine occasioned by long rains. 
Scotland. Desolated by a famine. 
China. A famine occasions a pestilential epidemic. 
Ireland. A general famine. 
England, Scotland. Great dearth in this and following year. People 

ate horses, dogs, cats, &c, to sustain life. — Holinshed. 
India. Famine in Delhi, very severe j few of the inhabitants could 

obtain the necessaries of life. 
India. A famine, supposed to have extended more or less over the 

whole of Hindustan. Very severe in the Deccan. The Emperor 

Mahommed, it is said, was unable to procure the necessaries for his 

household. — Dow's Hindustan. 
Italy. A dreadful famine which swept away by absolute starvation 

vast numbers of the inhabitants ; and in the following year a 

pestilence of a deadly nature swept the peninsula. "Such was 

the sufferings produced by these visitations that it was calculated 

that two-thirds of the whole population were destroyed." War 

followed. Encyclopcedia Britannica, Art. Italy. 
Barbary. Grain exported from England, causing dearth here. 
England, France. Great famine. — Rapin. 

„ Great scarcity ; grain brought from Ireland afforded 

much relief. 



1358 ..... 




















Walford — On the Famines of 
Table I.— Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

'England. "A great dearth and pestilence happened in England, 
which was called the second pestilence." — Penkbthman. 

Poland. Famine. 

England. Great pestilence among men and larger animals ; followed 
by inundations and extensive destruction of grain. Grain very dear. 

Italy. Famine. 

England. Great famine arising from scarcity of money to buy food. 
„ Great scarcity for two years ; people ate unripe fruit, 

and suffered greatly from " Flux." The Corporation of London 
advanced money and corn to the poor at easy rates. — Stow. Short 
attributes the famine of these three years to the "hoarding of corn." 
Penkethman gives further details regarding the assistance rendered 
by the Corporation of London, as follows : " The Mayor and 
Citizens of London took out of the Orphan's chest in their Guild- 
hall, 2,000 marks to buy Corn and other Yictualls from beyond the 
sea ; and the Aldermen each of them layd out 20 pound to the 
like purpose of buying Corn ; which was bestowed in divers places, 
where the poore might buy at an appointed price, and such as 
lacked money to pay doune, did put in surity to pay in the yeare 
following : in which yeare, when Harvest came, the fields yielded 
plentifull increase, and so the price of Corne began to decrease," 
p. 68. 

Ireland. " A great famine." 

India. Great drought, followed by famine, occurred in the Ganges- 
Jumna delta. 

England. Famine from great rains. 

Scotland. Dearth. 

Ireland. Famine of great severity. 

England. Wheat rose from its ordinary price of 4*. to 4*. 6d. per 
quarter to 26s. Sd. Bread was made from fern-roots. — Stow. 
Rains and tempests. — Short. 

England. " In the 17th yeere of Henry the Sixt, by meanes of great 
tempests, immeasurable windes and raines, there arose such a scarcitie 
that wheat was sold in some places for 2 shillings 6 pence the 
bushell." — Penkethman. 

England (18 Hen. VI). "Wheat was sold at London for 3*. the 
bushell, mault at 13*. the quarter, and oates at Sd. the bushell, 
which caused men to eat beanes, peas, and barley, more than in an 
hundred years before : wherefore Stephen Browne, then maior, sent 
into Pruse (Prussia), and caused to be brought to London many 
ships laden with rye, which did much good ; for bread-come was so 
scarce in England that poor people made their breade of feme 
rootes." — Penkethman. 

England. A scarcity. Scotland. A famine. 

Sweden. A famine. 

Ireland. Great famine in the spring. 

India. A famine in Orissa. 

England. " Famine sore." 

Ireland. Such a famine that it was called " The Dismal Year." 

England. Considerable scarcity. 

„ Great scarcity and high prices. 

India. A great dearth occurred about this date in Hindustan. 

Ireland. "Intolerable famine throughout all Ireland — many perished." 

England. Famine and mortality. " Wheat sold in London for 20*. 
a quarter." 

India. A very general famine in Sind. 

Ireland. A great famine. 

England. Severe famine. 

„ (19 Hen. VIII). " Such scarcitie of bread was at London 

and throughout England that many dyed for want thereof. The 

the World : Past and Present. 



















Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

England — Co ntd. 
King sent to the Citie, of his owne provision, 6oo quarters : the 
bread cart* then coming from Stratford [where nearly all the 
bakings were, probably on account of proximity to Epping Forest] 
towards London, were met at the Mile End by a great number of 
citizens, so that the maior and sheriffes were forced to goe and rescue 
the same, and see them brought to the markets appointed, wheat 
being then at 15*. the quarter. But shortly after the merchants of 
the Stiliard [Steelyard] brought from DansJce [Danzic] such store 
of wheat and rye, that it was better cheape at London than in any 
other part of the Realme." — Penkethman. 
Venice. Famine. 

Sardinia. The island desolated by a famine. 
India. A general famine in Sind during these years. 
England. A wonderful dearth and extreme prices. 
Famine from neglect of agriculture. 
Famine from great rains, bad and inconstant seasons ; 
heat and long south winds. — Short. 
London. Famine and pestilence, said to have taken off 20,000 people. 
British Isles. Extended famine. 2,ooo,oooZ. said to have been 

expended in importation of grain. 
Persia. Desolated by famine and plague. 

England. " In the 29th yeare of Queen Elizabeth, about January, 
Her Majesty observing the general Dearthe of Oorne, and other 
Victual, growne* partly through the unseasonablenesse of the year 
then passed, and partly through the uncharitable greediness of the 
Corne-masters, but especially through the unlawful and over much 
transporting of graine in forreine parts ; by the advice of Her 
most Hon. Privy Council, published a Proclamation, and a Booke of 
Orders, to be taken by the Justices for reliefe of the Poore [com- 
mencement of the poor law\ notwithstanding all which the excessive 
prices of graine still encreased : so that Wheat in meale, was sold at 
London for $s. the Bushel, and in some other parts of the Realme 
above that price.' ' — Penkethman. 
Hungary. Famine. 
Ireland. Extreme famine consequent on the wars of Desmond. 

Human flesh said to have been eaten. Also in England. 
Ireland. Gkreat famine period, "when one did eate another for 

Italy. Famine. 

England and Hungary. Famine. During the siege of Paris by 
Henry IV this year, owing to famine, bread which had been sold, 
while any remained, for a crown a-pound, was at last made from the 
bones of the charnel-house of the Holy Innocents. — Hinatjlt. 
England. (36 Elizabeth.) " By the late Transportations of graine 
into forreine parts, the same was here grown of an excessive price, 
as in some parts of this Realme, from 14?. to 4 markes the quarter, 
and more, as the Poore did feele ; and all other things whatsoever 
were made to sustain man, were likewise raysed, without all 
conscience and reason. For remedie whereof our Merchants brought 
back from Danshe [Danzic] much Rye and Wheat, but passing 
deere ; though not of the best, yet serving the turn in such extremi- 
ties. Some 'Prentices and other young people about the Citie of 
London, being pinched of their Victuals, more than they had beene 
accustomed, tooke Butter from the market folkes in Southwarke, 
paying but id. where the owners would not afford it under $d. by 
the pound. For which disorder the said young men were punished 
on the 27th June, by, whipping, setting on the Pillorie, and long 
imprisonment." — Penkethman. 
Italy, Germany, fyc. Famine. 
I Pegu. Very severe. 


Walford— On the Famines of 































Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

Russia. Famine and plague, of which 500,000 die, and 30,000 in 
Livonia ; also in England, " cold, dry summer." — Short. 

Ireland. Great scarcity and want. Cannibalism again reported. 

Dresden. Visited by famine. 

England. Dearth ; bread made of turnips, &c. 

India. A general famine caused by drought and war ; and through- 
out Asia. 

Scotland and North of England. " From rains and wars ; " also 
following year. 

Lancashire. Occasioned by the ravages of the armies; and the 
plague follows it. — Salmon's Chronological Historian. 

Ireland. A famine throughout the country. Sieges of Limerick 
and Galway. 

Rome. Famine for two years. 

India. Famine caused by drought, and supposed to be confined to 
the Punjab. 

Ireland. Famine and disease. 

Italy. From rains. 

France. Awful famine. — Voltaire. 

Scotland. Famine; England, great dearth, "from rains, colds, 
frosts, snows ; all bad weathers. — Short. 

England. From rain and cold of previous year. 

India. Famine in Thar and Parkar districts of Sind. 

France. A severe famine throughout Ahe kingdom. 

Scotland. From rain and cold ; also in England. 

Carniola. Famine from rain and mildew ; continued several years. 

Ireland. Corn very dear. " Many hundreds perished." Emigration. 

India. Famine ; appears to have been confined to North Western 

France. A severe famine. 

India. Famine in Delhi and its neighbourhood. 

Ireland. Potatoes destroyed by frost ; wheat 42*. per kilderkin. 

England. " From frost, cold, exporting and hoarding up corn." — 

Scotland. From "terrible shake- winds when corn was ready for 
reaping." — Short. 

India. Famine in Nara districts of Sind, and Thar and Parkar. 

England. Extended famine. 

Ireland. Great scarcity ; distilling and exportation of corn pro- 
hibited by Act of Parliament. 

Scotland. " The magistrates of Edinburgh and Glasgow have put a 
stop to the exportation of grain, tallow, and butter, in their respec- 
tive jurisdictions ; a power which the magistrates of London do not 
seem to possess." — Gentleman's Magazine, February. 

India (Hindustan). First great Indian famine of which we have 
record. It was estimated that 3,000,000 of people perished. The 
air was so infected by the noxious effluvia of dead bodies, that it 
was scarcely possible to stir abroad without perceiving it; and 
without hearing also the frantic cries of the victims of famine who 
were seen at every stage of suffering and death. Whole families 
expired, and villages were desolated. When the new crop came 
forward in August it had in many cases no owners. Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, Art. Hindustan. Other estimates have been that 
one-third of the population perished. 

" Alarming want of rain was also reported throughout all the upper 
parts of Bengal. Madras was also suffering from drought, and 
from the ravages of the enemy, and the demands for grain caused 
a scarcity also in Calcutta. During September, October, and 
November, the drought continued nearly all over Bengal, the 
calamity being most severely felt in Behar and the Bengal districts 

the World : Past and Present 













'90 91 

Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

India — Contd. 
north of the Granges. A plentiful rain fell in June, 1770 ; but the 
hopes of relief from the next crop which were thereby raised, were 
disappointed by the overflowing of the rivers in the eastern pro- 
vinces ; but the new crops in all the districts not greatly injured by 
floods were good." The famine ceased by the end of the year. — 
Dantbes, 1877. 

Bohemia. Famine and pestilence said to carry off 168,000 per- 

Russia and Poland. Famine and pestilence carry off some 20,000 

Italy. Failure of harvest. 

Cape de Verde. Great famine — 16,000 people perish. 

India. Famine in the Carnatic and the Madras settlement. " The 
Carnatic had been devastated by Hyder Ali's incursions in 1780-81, 
and the settlement of Madras was reduced to great straits for food, 
as the whole country in its vicinity was suffering from a general 
scarcity. Early in 1781 the Government of Madras took steps to 
regulate the supply of grain; and the distress continuing, in 
January, 1782, a public subscription was raised for the relief of the 
poor, to which the Government contributed. This was the origin 
of the institution for the relief of the native poor, known as the 
Monegar Choultry. Early in October the G-overnment deemed it 
necessary to take the supply of rice and food-grain into their own 
hands. The scarcity seems to have come to an end in the early 
months of 1783."— Dan vers, 1877. 

India. Famine in province of Sind, including Thar and Parkar. 
"When the Kulhora dynasty ceased in 1782, and that of the 
Talpors commenced, a very severe famine occurred, which lasted 
for two and a-half years. During four months of this time not a 
grain of corn was procurable. This famine was caused by the 
burning of crops, and the suspension of cultivation during a period 
of hostilities. There was also no rainfall for two years. " — Dantbes, 

India. Famine in the north-west provinces of the Punjab. " The 
disturbance of the season of 1783 seems to have been general ; but 
as the countries most affected were not then subject to British rule, 
very little information therein is obtainable. There are reasons for 
believing that the upper parts of Hindustan had been visited with 
extraordinary drought during the two previous years. In Sep- 
tember and October, 1783, there was an abnormal cessation of rain 
and extreme drought, and in the latter month a terrible famine 
was reported in all the countries from beyond Zahore to Karum- 
nasa (the western boundary of Behar) .... and the famine had 
been already felt in all the western districts towards Delhi. To 
the northward of Calcutta, the crops upon the ground had been 
scorched, and nearly destroyed." — Dantbes, 1877. By the middle 
of 1784 the famine had abated. 

India. Famine prospects in Behar and north-west provinces of 
Punjab, consequent upon access of rain and floods. The Govern- 
ment laid an embargo on the exportation of grain. 

France. Grievous famine ; province of Rouen. 

India. Famine in district of Baroda, and in many adjoining dis- 
tricts, in some of which, however, it was only partial and local. 
" Very little is known concerning the famine in many of the dis- 
tricts named, beyond the fact that in 1790 tradition records the 
occurrence of a very severe famine. An almost total failure of rain 
was the immediate cause, apparently, of the calamity ; and sufficient 
information exists to prove that it was one of the most remarkable 
on record. So great was the distress that many people fled to 
other districts in search of food ; while others destroyed themselves, 


Walford— On the Famines of 










Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

India — Contd, 
and some lulled their children, and lived on their flesh. In 
Belgaum the scarcity was aggravated by people flocking into the 
district boarding on the Godavery." — Danvees, 1877. 

In Kach, in 1791, a famine was caused by innumerable black ants 
which swarmed in almost all parts of the country, and destroyed 
vegetation. [This Kach, formerly Cutch, is in Bombay Presi- 
dency, situated south-east of the mouths of the Indus, and appears 
in later times to have become a terribly God-forsaken place : 
famines and plagues constantly !] 

India. Serious dearth in the northern districts of the Madras Pre- 
sidency, and the pressure continued for about two years, from 
November, 1790, to November, 1792. " Many deaths from starva- 
tion occurred. At an early period Government suspended the 
import and transit duties on all kinds of grain and provisions, and 
themselves imported grain from Bengal. In the latter part of 
1791 the export of rice from Tranjore was prohibited, except to 
the distressed districts. Rice was distributed by Government, 
and relief was afforded by employing the poor on public works." — 
Danvees, 1877. 

This was the first occasion of the poor being employed on public 
works by the Government in India. 

England. Scarcity of food severely felt. 

United Kingdom. Great scarcity; flour obtained from America; 
Committees of both Houses of Parliament were appointed to 
inquire into means of supplying food. 

India. Famine in the Nizam's dominions (Bombay Presidency). 
" This famine was caused in the several districts affected by it by 
four distinct causes, which operated apparently about the same 
time. In Kach the crops are said to have been destroyed by 
locusts. In Pahlumpur, Rerva Kanta, Surat, Guzerat, Hyderabad, 
Belgaum, and Rutnagherry, the famine is stated to have been 
caused by want of rain. Candeish was overrun by the armies of 
Holkar ; and the Pindaree bands sacked and burned villages in 
every direction, even destroying the grain standing in the fields ; 
and the same fate attended the districts of Ahmednagar, Poona, 
and Sholapur: whilst the influx of starving people from other 
districts into Sattara, Kolapur, Dharwar, and Colaba, caused a 
scarcity of food in those districts." — Danvees, 1877. 

India. Scarcity in the Bombay Presidency, following the unfavour- 
able season of 1804; severe pressure on the poorer classes. "In 
the latter part of the following year a general failure of crops 
appears to have occurred in most parts of the presidency, and the 
scarcity caused thereby had not passed over until October, 1807." 
— Danvees, 1877. 

United Kingdom. Great scarcity in England and Ireland. 

India. Famine in parts of Sind and other neighbouring districts, 
attributed to failure of rain. " In Kach and Pahlunpore the loss 
was aggravated by locusts ; and in Kattywar it was followed by a 
plague of rats. Guzerat suffered most from scarcity caused by 
export of grain to the famine districts ; and Ahmerdabad was 
overrun with starving immigrants. In Mahee Kanta the distress 
was caused by internal disturbances ; whilst in Broach there wa9 
no failure of rain, but the crops, before they were reaped, were 
entirely devoured by locusts, which came in very large numbers, 
and spread all over the country." — Danvees, 1877. 

India. Scarcity in Madras Presidency, following unfavourable 
season of 1811 ; " but no serious distress appears to have been 
generally experienced throughout the presidency on this occasion, 
although the district of Madras suffered considerably." — 
Danvees, 1877. 

the World : Past and Present. 












Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

Poland. Suffered from famine, consequent upon an inundation; 
also Dronfheim (Norway), in consequence of the intercepting of 
supplies by Sweden ; 5,000 perished. 

India. Partial famine in many parts of the Agra district ; the 
autumn crop of 1812 failed, and the harvest of the following 
spring was indifferent. In 1813 the rains set in late, and were 
then only partial. 

India. Great scarcity in the Allahabad and neighbouring districts, 
under the following circumstances : — " The rains set in late, but 
when they did come they appear to have fallen in abundance. The 
land which had hitherto been so dried up by the heat that sowing 
had to be undertaken twice without any effect, became so drenched 
that a third sowing was not possible till the middle of September. 
In Bundelkhand the kharif of 1819 failed extensively, and frost 
nipped the spring crops in the beginning of 1820." — Dan vers, 

India. Famine in Upper Sind and neighbouring provinces, caused 
only partially by drought. " In 1819 there was a failure of crops 
in Ahmedabad, caused by unseasonable weather after the monsoon ; 
whilst in Sawunt Warru it was occasioned by a sudden and 
unusual fall of rain, accompanied by a terrific storm — the former 
destroying the ground crops, and the latter the bagayut produce." — 
Danvees, 1877. 

Ireland. Dreadful famine, produced by failure of potato crop. 

" While, however, the agriculturists of the continent were suffering 
from an abundance, a grievous famine arose in Ireland, showing the 
anomalies of her situation, resulting either from the staple food of 
her population differing from that of surrounding nations, or the 
limitation of her commercial exchanges with her neighbours. Her 
distresses from scarcity were aggravated by the agrarian outrages, 
originating in the pressure of ty thes and rack-rents on the peasantry 
and small farmers. Several of the ringleaders of these disorders 
were apprehended by the civil and military power, and great 
numbers executed or transported." — Wade's Brit. Hist. 

India. Famine in several districts. In Delhi and neighbouring 
provinces it was due to severe drought ; in the Madras Presidency, 
and more particularly in the Carnatic and Western districts, the 
cause was failure of rains at the usual season. In Hindustan the 

India. Famine in the north-west provinces, occasioned by failure of 
rains ; and scarcity in Sangor and Nerbada territories caused by 
blight , and a succession of heavy thunder storms. 

India. Famine in parts of Hindustan. " The autumn of 1827 and 
the following spring were marked by drought across the Jumna. In 
Pergunnahs, Raneea, and Sirsa, the rains commenced auspiciously, 
but stopped abruptly early in July, and did not begin again till the 
22nd September. It was then too late to retrieve the mischief 
which the drought had already caused ; and to add to the general 
distress, there was every chance of a failure in the wheat. This 
was the staple rubbee crop in these regions, and its success was 
mainly dependent on the river Ganges overflowing its banks, but on 
this occasion the usual inundations did not occur." — Danvees, 

Ireland. Famine ; Parliament granted 40,000^. for relief ; 74,4 10 J. 
subscriptions in England. 

India. Scarcity in Poona and the southern Mahratta country, 
producing considerable distress, but hardly a famine. 

India. Famine in some of the north-west provinces. " It is said 
that not a single shower of rain fell in Ajmir in 1832. In the 
following year the drought was most severely felt in Bundelkhand, 


Walford — On the Famines of 












Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

India — Contd. 
and in the southern pergunnahs of Cawnpore ; but in the per- 
gunnahs bordering on the Ganges, the rubbee was good owing to the 
facilities for irrigation" — Danvees, 1877. 

India. Famine in the G-untoor and other districts in the Madras 
Presidency ; about 200,000 perished. Mr. Danvers says " this was 
the most serious famine which has occurred since the British 
occupation, and from the fearful loss of life which took place in 
the G-untoor district on this occasion, the scarcity became generally 
known as this ' G-untoor famine.' " 

India. Famine in Madras Presidency. 

" In 1834 rain fell copiously in Kach ; grain was sown and came 
up well; but locusts appeared and destroyed all the crops and 
grass as well as the trees. In Ahmedabad there was excessive rain 
the same year, which rendered cultivation impossible, and locusts 
also appeared in great quantities. In Broach the famine of 1835 
was also caused by excessive rain, which destroyed the spring 
crops, whilst the winter crops were also burnt up by intense cold. 
In the other districts named, the scarcity appears to bave been 
caused by failure of crops owing to drought." — Danvees, 1877. 

India. Famine in north-west provinces, resulting from a general 
failure of rain. This was also felt in the lower provinces : for in 
Calcutta it is said the tanks were empty. Lord Auckland wrote in 
January, 1838 : " The fall in the usual season of the rains last year 
was unusually late and scanty ; and an absolute drought has 
followed up to the present time." 

India. Great scarcity and considerable distress, caused by failure of 
rains in Surat and other districts in the Bombay Presidency. Large 
numbers of people left these provinces in search of food elsewhere. 

Ireland. Famine j the G-overnment expended 850,000^. in relief of 

Belgium. Severe famine j but relieved from supplies from 
neighbouring countries. 

Ireland. Great potato famine; Parliament advanced nearly 
io,ooo,oooZ.; about 275,000 persons are supposed to have perished. 
The famine in the whole lasted over nearly six years ; the population 
became reduced by about 2,500,000. The emigration to America 
was 1,180,409, and 1,029,552 are said to have died from starvation 
and pestilence consequent upon it. This is probably over- stated. 
It is further said that about 25 per cent, of the emigrants died 
within twelve months of leaving. The Commerce and Navigation 
Laws were repealed. 

France. Scarcity. Food riots. At Chateauroux a wealthy corn 
merchant who defied the mob was set upon and beaten to death. 

India. Great scarcity in the Bellary district (Madras Presidency). 
"The rains which usually fall in the months of October and 
November, ceased at an unusually early period in the year 1853 ; 
and the showers which usually fall in June and July, had been 
scanty. The grain harvests were consequently almost universally 
deficient, and considerable distress occurred in several parts of this 
presidency. In Bellary district, the season had been exceptionally 
unfavourable : an average fall of only 9^ inches of rain having 
taken place during the year, against an average of about double that 
quantity in previous years. The stocks of grain on hand were 
small : for serious damage had been occasioned by a storm in 1851 
to several of the irrigation works of the district ; and in 1852 the 
falls of rain had been unseasonable, and the crops short." — 

India. " In 1859-60 the Delhi territory suffered from want of rain. 
The great Nujjufghur Jheel became entirely dry — a thing never 
before known within the memory of man. The rains of 1860 com- 

the World : Past and Present. 








Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

India — Contd. 
pletely failed in the country between the Jumna and the Sutlej ; and 
except where irrigation was available, no autumn or spring crop 
could be sown." — Danvees, 1877. 

Inctia. Considerable scarcity of food in Kach and various other 
districts of the Bombay Presidency, owing to scanty and unseason- 
able rains in 1861, and to short fall in the early part of 1862. 

India. Awful famine in the Lower Provinces of Bengal, Orissa, 
Behar, &c. ; 1,500,000 persons reported to have perished. 

"The total quantity of rainfall for the year [1865] was not 
unusually small in most of the districts of Bengal, but it fell 
abnormally and out of time. Much rain fell early in the season, 
before the usual time for sowing, while the later rains, which are 
usually expected in the end of September and October, failed." — 
Danvees, 1877. 

Great scarcity also in Madras Presidency, through many districts. 

India. Famine and scarcity in a considerable number of the north- 
west provinces, including Delhi, Meerut, &c. This was occasioned 
by failure of the harvest of 1868, following upon the inferior crop 
of 1867. 

Persia. Severe famine. 

India. Bengal ; famine arising from drought. The Government took 
early measures, and at a cost of 6,500,000?. organised a system of 
relief . About 1 ,000,000 tons of rice were carried into the distressed 
districts ; and about 100,000 remained after relief concluded. 

Mr. Danvers gives us the following details respecting this famine :-— 
"During three successive years the weather in Bengal had been 
abnormal. In 1871 the rain was excessive, but the crops were 
good. In 1872 the rain was deficient, but although extraordinarily 
scanty, it was happily distributed both in time and place, and the 
crops were good in Bengal, and not bad in Behar. The year 1873 
was again dry, almost beyond precedent, and what rain there was was 
unfortunately distributed. South of the Gauges it was excessive ; 
but in North Behar, and almost the whole of Bengal, the rain was 
below the average. Coupled with deficient rainfall, the monsoon of 
1873 was abnormally hot .... In January, 1874, it was 
reported that the frost and west winds were drying up the crops in 
Patna. The famine reached its culminating point in April and 

Asia Minor. Severe famine ; great efforts made by Turkey to 
alleviate ; also subscriptions raised in England. Deaths up to 
July, 1874 {Times, 31st March, 1875), 150,000. 

India. Madras Presidency. One of the most extended famines on 
record. The cost to the Government of India, in remedial mea- 
sures and loss of revenue, is estimated at 10,000,000?. The actual 
amount of mortality occasioned is difficult to determine, the esti- 
mates vary so much. Cholera prevailed in some of the famine 
districts, and added greatly to the number of deaths. The Mansion 
House Relief Fund, instituted by the lord mayor (Sir Thomas 
White), exceeded half-a-million sterling. 

Mr. Danvers gives the following details regarding the meteorological 
incidents associated with this famine : " The season of 1874 was 
generally good, but in parts it was unfavourable. In 1875 the 
season was in many places unpropitious. In 1876 the south-west 
monsoon, or summer rains, were deficient throughout the greater 
part of the Madras Presidency, and. in the Bombay district of 
Poona. In the northern portions only of the Madras Presidency 
.... was the rainfall ordinarily propitious. The north-east 
monsoon, or autumn rains, failed still more disastrously. In 
October the whole of the nine districts of the Bombay Deccan were 
threatened with a serious famine, nearly all the monsoon crops 


Walfoed— Oh the Famines of 

Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

A.D. India — Contd. 

1877 haying perished, and there having been no later rains to admit of 

sowing the rabi. . . . The spring and summer rains again failed in 

1877. . . . and added to this, the rainfall was short almost all over 
northern India. 

'77 Egypt. Short rainfall and low Nile ; great scarcity. 

'77 Morocco. Drought of preceding season produced famine. 

'77 Brazil. Great drought in northern provinces, and upwards of 

200,000 of the population exposed to famine. 

'77-78 North China. A telegram dated 26th January, 1878, says : 
" Appalling famine raging throughout four provinces North China. 
Nine million people reported destitute. Children daily sold in 
markets for [raising means to procure] food. Foreign Relief Com- 
mittee appeal to England and America for assistance." Total popu- 
lation of districts affected, 70 millions. Mr. Fredk. H. Balfour, 
of Shanghai, said : " The people's faces are black with hunger ; 
they are dying by thousands upon thousands. Women and girls 
and boys are openly offered for sale to any chance wayfarer. When 
I left the country, a respectable married woman could be easily 
bought for six dollars, and a little girl for two. In cases, however, 
where it was found impossible to dispose of their children, parents 
have been known to kill them sooner than witness their prolonged 
sufferings, in many instances throwing themselves afterwards down 
wells, or committing suicide by arsenic." 
" Lord Derby received a report drawn up by Mr. Mayers, Chinese 
Secretary of the Legation at Pekin, upon the distress which the 
drought of the last two years has caused in the northern and cen- 
tral provinces of China. This famine, it seems, has been most 
severely felt in the district furthest from the coast. With the 
exception of Chefoo, and, in a lesser degree, Tien-tsin, no foreign 
settlement has come directly into contact with the misery which 
has been described as existing in the interior, nor are any immediate 
traces of it visible in the neighbourhood of the capital. The 
apparent cause was disturbance in the usually unfailing regularity 
of the summer monsoons. The spring and summer of 1876 were 
marked in the southern maritime provinces, Kwangtung and 
Fuhkien, and in a less degree also along the coast as far north as 
Ningpo, by an excessive rainfall, causing in the two provinces above- 
named disastrous floods and much destruction of crops. In the 
north, on the contrary, from the Yangtsze to the neighbourhood of 
Pekin and thence eastward to the borders of Corea, an unusual 
drought was experienced." — Times, 13th March, 1878. 
Further papers on this famine were presented to Parliament, 2nd July, 

1878. The number of souls for whom relief is required is said 
to be between 3 and 4 millions. One point brought out is the 
enormous cost of transporting supplies to the province of Shansi, 
where a mountain range has to be crossed and a distance of some 
hundreds of miles to be traversed by carts. Mr. Mayers says the 
reported cost of transporting these supplies to Shansi would be 
about four taels per picul, or, say, 12I. sterling per ton. Mr. Hugh 
Fraser sends from Pekin, 18th January, the translation of a 
memorial addressed to the throne by Yen "King-Ming, " Special 
High Commissioner for the Superintendence of the Arrangements 
for Famine Relief in Shansi. The commissioner dwells upon the 
painful scenes he has witnessed at every stage of his journey, in the 
course of which his chair has continually been surrounded by 
crowds of the famine-stricken population imploring relief, to whom 
he has administered comfort in soothing words, assuring them of 
the Imperial sympathy. The roads are lined with corpses in such 
numbers as to distance all efforts for their interment, while women 
and children, starving and in rags, know not where to look for the 

the World : Past and Present. 






Table I. — Chronology of Famines — Contd. 

North China — Contd. 
means of keeping body and soul together. The memorialist, his 
heart wrung with despairing pity, cannot but ask why has a 
calamity so awful as this been visited upon the people. He can 
only ascribe it to his own failure in the due discharge of his duty, 
and he feels that his shortcoming admits of no excuse. In reply, 
the G-rand Council has received a rescript expressing profound 
sympathy with the sufferings of the people as reported in this 
memorial, and directing that all that is possible for their relief be ■ 
done, in consultation with the governor of the province." 

Note. — The Empire of China has long been subject to the most serious 
famines ; but of these we have found no details available. 

Morocco. A correspondent of the Jewish World, residing at Mogador, 
and carrying on business in that city as a merchant, writes : — " I 
regret to say that from want of rain the southern part of Morocco, 
comprising the provinces of Soos, Haha, Antuga, and the Morocco 
districts, is suffering from famine, every description of food being 
exceedingly scarce, and the pauper population of Mogador, always 
disproportionately large, forming about one-third of its entire 
inhabitants, is being rapidly increased by numerous famished 
Jewish and Moorish families from the adjacent districts. It is a 
fearful sight to see some of them — mere living skeletons. The Jews 
are behaving well, and have collected large sums and distributes 
them ; they have now agreed to pay a tax of $\d. on every package 
of food and grain imported, and the money is being distributed 
weekly among the Jewish poor. The Moors, poor creatures, get no 
assistance from the Government, and little or nothing from their 
co-religionists ; they are mainly dependent upon the charity they 
receive from the Jews and a few Christians. Unless this Govern- 
ment quickly does something to assist the sufferers, I fear that the 
limited resources of the merchants here will necessarily fail under 
the continual drain, and render them unable to assist the increasing 
number of poverty-stricken people. There is no kind of business 
now doing, except in articles of food, and consequently the working 
classes have nothing to do. They are selling their clothes and 
furniture to obtain food, and when these have gone the amount of 
destitution will be increased. I fear, unless relief comes from the 
Government here, or from some charitably-disposed persons, that I 
shall have to relate the most distressing accounts. Already some 
cases of actual starvation have occurred among the Moors. If you 
could see the terrible scenes of misery — poor starving mothers, 
breaking and pounding up bones they find in the streets, and 
giving them to their famished children — it would make your heart 
ache. Raise a few pounds if you can, and if you can do so lay it 
out in rice at the wholesale brokers, and have it shipped by the 
steamers leaving England." 

Cashmere. Severe famine, regarding which, however, no exact 
details have come to hand. 

It is seen from the preceding table (which includes in the whole 
over 350 famines in various parts of the world) that famines have 
given rise to several of our more important and distinctive institu- 
tions — as the Poor Law in England in 1586, and its equivalent in 
India in 1781-83 ; as to Government Relief Works, vide famine in 
India in 1790-92, since followed out in various parts of the empire. 

But in truth they gave rise to our Corn Laws, see first record of 
importation of grain during the famine, 1258. I expect to be able 


I I 


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/ I 

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t i 

. ,- ,,. 

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tl ■ ii hi «•! 1 !:•• I . ' I .\.» \ 

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i .«■■• I\ ii Ii :i I Ii - ill I n.-l !" 
«•• • . |il i< lit! 1 'I • l<>.\ :;iul. in a 

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li.i I-- .i J.i i-i :'• I :• r\i I '\\:\ i 

I l.'i . • .«l it \ • l'»|«* lit I III* llt'i 

• ijtji. i-.| »• u-..' \\..'i iii'-tui*l , :ini a ( 

• •I l!:r i.' ii-i.T iM«Mi- •».!•••. Til 
r.r !.. il iM ili.« '.»i!ilnM*it mar 
ri;!:\wn, .'.ii%l i:i :» K*-s iK«.*nv al 
Ni!::;!'.', b\ :iu iAiv^^i 1 rainfall, 
part. ,1 *l*-.t tivw- 1uhh1> ami mi 
r..".lh. >>:i l!v r»»\, from tlu* 
IV'mm a:-.»l i'i.m-.iv oaMwartl to tl 
ti'\»;. !;t \\.i:« oxjvnomwl." i'httt. 

r*..r*. ■:.•:• \ >a i v.--. »»a tlu> fnitihn* woro 

1»«**S; I'*. » I. . > ... 1\...> .%! w>.«tll>> la\« 

the World: Fast and Present. 21 

ttely bo, at least by those most affected at the 

deal with the natural or unavoidable causes first. 

temperate climates like oar own, an excess of rain 
fids to famine. The ground becomes sodden, and 
Jjle to get upon it for purposes of efficient culti- 
d having been deposited, is destroyed. Or again, 

in the latter half of the year, the grain is not 
I tor the harvest ; or if it shall have been cut, then 
without being properly dried, by which means 
red, and it moulders and spoils. It is remarkable 

large proportion of the famines in the three 
knited Kingdom have been occasioned by rains, 
-ion of the land, as good drainage, Sec., lessen 

■n this country we have no meteorological records 
ill over any lengthened period of time can be 
in absence of these, I am driven to another 
is to bring into requisition a table of floods. 
ible is to widen our view of the causes from 
.rise and have arisen. Many of the statistical 
i his table have a value quite apart from any 
(•on famines. I have extended it to all parts of 
that its range may be identical with that of 

i he Floods and Inundations of the World. 
irst mention of which occurs in Gen. iv, 7 — 22, where 

■ directions received by Noah relative to the construe- 
I The commencement of the Flood is related in 
2. The waters increased for 40 days (c. 17), and 
the earth 150 days (s. 24). at the end of which time 

fcon the mountain of Ararat (Gen. viii, 4). This was 

■ narrators of the event as a general deluge — a fact 
1 doubted on scientific grounds. The date of the 

. iiceordiug to the estimates of different authorities 
j down to B.C. 2104. — Townsehd's Dictionary of 

A flood known as the Deluge of Ogyges. It was 
lie sea being driven in by winds, and is sometimes 
llii' " Second Deluge." 
■eece) . Great flood from rain, which oitended all through 
Lt is sometimes spoken of as the " Third Deluge." 
,i Minor) was destroyed by an inundation. Rebuilt on 
Tared site B.O. BOO. 

>■ uv, -rfl niving of the Tiber is said to have swept away all 
uses and buildings in the lower part of the city. The river 
iwcd again B.O. 54 and 27. (See A.D. 15.) 

1. Groat flood in valley of the Thames ; many persons 
od, and cat lie destroyed. 
.! England. Great overflow of HnmW, flooding the country all rounds 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World— Contd, 
























England. Overflow of Severn ; great damage. 

Rome. The Tiber again overflowed, and did such serious damage 

that it was proposed in the Senate to diminish its waters by divert- 
ing some of the chief tributaries, (b.c. 241.) 
England. Great overflow of the Trent. 

Overflow of the Dee ; great damage done to Chester. 

Medway overflowed, and drowned many cattle. 

The Thames overflowed, the waters extended through four 

counties ; 10,000 people drowned, and much damage to property. 
England. Volcanic eruption, followed by inundation of sea. Isle 

of Wight separated from Hampshire. 
England. Great overflow of the Severn, many people and much 

cattle drowned. 
England. Great overflow of the Medway. Loss of life. 

„ Humber overflowed ; damage extended over 50 miles of 

England. The Severn again overflowed ; great loss of life and cattle. 

„ The Humber again overflowed. 

Dorsetshire (England). Inundation of the sea, which came 20 miles 

inland. Great loss of life and property. 
Edinburgh (Scotland). Considerable damage from flood. 
England. Trent valley overflowed. Great destruction, extending 

zo miles from ordinary course of stream. 
Northumberland. Great flood in Tweed ; much damage. 
Lincolnshire. An eruption of the sea laid under water many thousand 

acres. — Camden . 
England. The Ouse overflowed, and drowned many people and 

England. The Humber overflowed and did great damage. 
Isle of Thanet (Kent) . Flooded. Loss of lif e and property. 
England. The inhabitants of Ferae Island (off coast of Northum- 
berland) destroyed by inundation of sea. 
England. Irruption of the sea in Lancashire. 
Great overflowing of the Tweed. 
Severn valley flooded ; great loss. 
Cheshire (England) . Inundation from the sea ; several thousands 

[about 5,000] of people drowned, and much damage. 
Egypt. An inundation consequent upon an earthquake destroyed 

many of the inhabitants. 
Sicily. Inundation from sea ; great destruction. 
Cheshire. Overflowing of the Dee, and great destruction. 
Egypt. Unusual overflow of Nile ; great damage. 
Hampshire. Inundation of sea and great destruction, near South- 
Wales. The sea made great inroads, both north and south, many 

people and much cattle drowned. 
Constantinople. Much flooded, consequent upon four days' incessant 

London. The Thames for many miles above and below much flooded ; 

great damage. 
England. The Severn valley again overflowed ; great damage. 

,, The Trent overflowed. Great number of cattle drowned. 

Edessa (Mesopotamia), sometimes called " Antioch of the Fair 

Streams." A destructive flood did considerable damage to the city. 
England. The Humber overflowed. Many people and cattle drowned. 
Northumberland. The Tweed again overflowed. People and cattle 

France and Italy. Great floods from rains. 
Greece. Inundation from the sea ; part Submerged. 
Scotland. Violent rain storms extending over five months. 



the World : Past and Present. 


Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World. — Contd. 










818 or 820 











England. Great rain floods. 

Italy. Great rains and floods. 

England. Farts of Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk inundated from the 

France and Italy. Great rains and floods. 
Anglesea (Wales). Much damaged by the sea. 
Italy. Great floods from tempest ; followed by plague. 
Ireland. Floods in Munster. 
Cheshire and Lancashire (England). Greatly damaged by inundations 

of sea. 
Kent (England). The Medway overflowed; great damage. 
Japan. More than 500,000 acres of land in the Isle of Sikokf 

swallowed up by inundation of the sea, following earthquake. 
Ireland. Great inundation from the sea. 
Italy j Venice, Liguria. Great floods from violent rain storms. 
Ireland. Floods of rain in Leinster. 
Some. The Tiber greatly overflowed from rains. 
Ireland. A rainy summer ; great inundations of the sea. 
Edinburgh (Scotland). Great damage by rain or inundation. 
Glasgow. Great floods ; more than 400 families drowned. [Some 

authorities give the date 758.] 
Ireland. Great fall of rain, and consequent floods. 

„ "A flood in Darinis." 

Italy. The Tiber much flooded by rains. 
England. Great overflow of the Severn ; 2,000 people and 7,000 

cattle drowned. 
France. Great rains and floods. 
Northumberland. Tweed overflowed and extended 30 miles round. 

Loss of life and cattle. 
Germany. The Rhine flooded from rains. 

England. Great rains and floods, followed by epidemic of quinsy. 
Kent (England). Floods in Medway. Great loss of cattle. 
England. The Humber again greatly flooded. 
Saxony. Great rains in June. Extended damage. 
Cheshire. The Dee greatly overflown ; many villages injured. 
Saxony. Flooded by rain, " after a comet." 
Scotland. Rains extending over five months ; consequent floods. 
Ireland. A great flood. 

Southampton. Great floods ; many people drowned. 
England. December. Great rains and floods, " after comet in 

Ireland. Great flood of the Shannon. 
Bagdad (Asiatic Turkey). Half the city inundated from great 

overflow of the Euphrates. 
Bagdad. Nearly three-fourths of the city inundated from a serious 

overflow of the Euphrates. 
Persian Gulf. Severe irruption following earthquakes. Several 

cities destroyed, and new islands formed. 
England. Thames greatly overflown ; many people drowned. 
Floods all the winter, 
and Germany. Great inundations of the sea. 

Earthquake, floods, thunder, lightning, hurricane. 
Great inundations of the English coasts ; " a number of 

seaport towns demolished." 
Ireland. Excessive rains and floods — producing cattle mortality. 
England. Great floods followed by plague. 

„ Extended general floods from rains. 

Germany. Great floods. 
Flanders. Inundations from the sea. 
Severn Valley (England). Great rain floods ; loss of cattle. 




Walford — On the Families of 

Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 








'98 or 


1100 or 



'18 or 19 

aO .... ... 





'57 or 58 
















Bagdad. The Tigris overflowed and inundated Bagdad. 

England. Heavy floods from rain. 

" In the twentieth year [of William the Conqueror] there fell such 
abundance of rain that the rivers did greatly overflow in all parts 
of the Realm. The springs also rising plentifully in divers hills, so 
softened and decayed the foundations of them, that they fell down, 
whereby some villages were overthrown. By this distemperature 
of weather much cattle perished, much corn upon the ground was 
either destroyed, or greatly impaired. Thereupon ensued first a 
famine, and afterwards a miserable mortality of men" [Plague] — 
Harleian Miscellany ', iii, p. 167. 

Bagdad. The Tigris again overflowed and did much damage. 

Constantinople. Great floods. 

Ireland. "Great rains and inundations in summer and autumn." 

England. Great floods, and afterwards severe frost. 

Ireland. " Great inundations in all Ireland." 

English Channel. Earl Godwin's lands, exceeding 4,000 acres, over- 
flowed by the sea, and an immense sand-bank formed on the coast 
of Kent, now known as the G-odwin Sands. — Camden. 

England. Rains and sea floods, " fatal to much people and cattle." 
Thames much flooded on festival of St. Martin. 

Flanders. A terrible inundation forced many of the inhabitants to 
leave the country. Some settled in England. Nearly the whole of 
this country is believed to have been covered by the sea in early 
times. On this occasion the town of Ostend was immersed. 

England, Great floods, followed by famine. 
Inundation from the sea. 

Constant floods all the year ; " no corn sown or reaped." 
„ Great flood on St. Lawrence's Day. 

France. Great floods from rain. 

Flanders. Inundation from the sea. 

Germany. Great floods on the Rhine from rains. 

England. Rain floods, lasting all the harvest. 

Italy. Great overflow of the Tiber. Normandy. Great floods. 

Sicily. Inundation of the sea ; drowned 5,000 persons j " floods in 
many rivers, multitudes of people lost." (1165.) 

Holland. Inundation from the sea ; many people and cattle lost. 

Sicily. Irruption of the sea ; 1 2,000 people drowned. (1161.) 

Holland, Friesland, and Utrecht. Terrific flood. In the latter 
province the water rose to so great a height that the people were 
able to catch fish with nets within the walls of the town. — Davibs' 

England. Inundation of the sea ; harvest destroyed in many 

Ireland. " Great floods destroyed numbers of men." 

Germany. Great floods on the Rhine. 

Holland. Great flood [? inundation] which considerably extended 
the limits of the Zuyder-zee. 

Lincolnshire (England). Inundation from the sea; also in 

England. " Many floods from a most severe winter." — Short. 
Great floods. 
Inundations of sea " killed very much people 





Great floods in March from rains. 
„ Serious floods from rain. 

France. Terrible rains and great floods, destroying bridges, houses, 

&c. " Greatest ever seen in France." — Short. 
England. Great floods on St. Nicholas Eve, "after a tempest of 
thunder and lightning." December. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 


1210 or 12 


















[?'87] .. 








Perth (Scotland). Great flood from overflow of Tay and Anan 
rivers: many houses washed down and people drowned. The 
king lost his youngest, son and nurse in it ; and twelve of the 
court ladies were drowned. The king and his brother with great 
difficulty escaped in a boat. 
Sicily. Inundation from the sea, " thousands of people swept away 

by it." 
England. Great floods in the night in winter. 
Nordland (Norway). "The St. Lawrence Lake broke out and 

drowned 36,000 people, besides cattle." 
Poland. Floods from constant rains ; Friesland t inundations, 

England. High tides ; great damage. Also continuous rain storms. 
„ In the " seventh yeare of Henry III, on Holy Hood Day, 

was a great thunder and lightning tempest throughout all England, 
and such great floods of water followed with great winds and 
tempests, which continued till Candlemass, that the yeare following 
wheat was sold for izs. the quarter."— Penkethman. 
Frieseland. Irruption of the sea, j 00,000 people drowned. 
Italy and France. Great overflow of the Tiber j floods in France. 
Austria. Great overflow of the Danube. 
England. The Thames greatly flooded from rains. Extended above 

6 miles at Lambeth. 
England. Several inundations of the sea ; great losses. 

„ Tides rise 6 feet higher than usual. 

Ireland. 29th June. Great inundation of the Shannon. 
England. July. Great floods from rains. 
Germany. Great floods on the Rhine. 

Scotland. Great inundations of the Tay and Forth from the sea. 
England. February. Great floods from thaw. 

„ Great floods from the sea, and from rains. 

Bagdad. The city again inundated after appearance of red flame. 
Holland. Great inundations at Frieslandj forming the Dollert Sea. 
Italy. Great overflowing of the Tiber. 
England. Great floods all the summer ; especially in August. 
WincheUea (England). Great inundation of the sea; more than 300 

houses swept away. " Charter granted for erection of new port." 
Holland. A dreadful storm, laid the whole country on both sides of 
the Zuyder-zee under water. To such a height did the water rise 
that Count Florence took advantage of the circumstance to subdue 
the inland towns by armed vessels called "cogs." — Davies' 
England. Winter excessively rainy ; great floods. 1st June. Sea 
broke in from the Humber to Yarmouth, forced by the winds. In 
December on Suffolk and Norfolk coasts. Plague all the year. 
Salandria (?). Fifteen islands submerged by the sea, 15,000 people 

England. Great hailstorm, followed by heavy rains, greatly affecting 

the next year's harvest. — Penkethman. 
Damascus (Syria). Inundated by overflowing of streams. 
England. Flood after a comet. In November inundation from the 
sea, in the Thames. " In December great calm, heat, and clear- 
ness." — Shoet. 
Damascus. Again inundated. 
England. Great rains and floods during harvest ; much grain 

England. Heavy rains ; grain did not ripen ; harvest not com- 
menced till Michaelmas. 
Florence. November. Great overflow of the Arno. 
England. Continued rain storms ; corn spoiled. 



Walfobd— On the Famines of 

Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World— Contd. 



























England. Continuous rain from beginning of October to December. 
„ 22nd March. Great flood in Tyne ; many lives lost. 

„ Violent rains from Midsummer to Christmas, "so that 

there was not one day and night dry together." 

England. " Floods, storms, tempests, and fiery meteors in the air." 
„ Violent rain storms. 

Holland. " Another deluge," which formed the Marsdiep, separated 
the islands of Texel, Vlielandt, and Wieringen from the mainland, 
and submerged other districts. " This first raised the commerce of 

England. An inundation from the sea. 

„ 12th October. " Sea flooded thrice without ebbing." 

Holland. Dreadful and most destructive inundation, overwhelming 
seventy-two villages, twenty of which were never recovered. The 
loss of life [nearly too,ooo persons on some authorities] and pro- 
perty was immense ; many noble families" were reduced almost to 
beggary. By this inundation the Biesbosch was formed, and the 
town of Dordrecht separated from the mainland of Holland. 
[Some authorities give the date of this event as 1446.] 

Istula (? Vistula, G-ermany). Flood of the. — Short. 

England. The Severn overflowed during ten days, and carried away 
men, women and children in their beds, and covered the tops of 
many mountains ; the waters settled upon the lands, and were 
called"The Great Waters" for a hundred years after." — Holinshed. 

Ireland. Great rain and floods all the summer ; called the " Dismal 

Germany. The Elbe overflowed. 14th August. The Albis ditto. 

Ireland. Great inundation, which produced considerable destruc- 

Germany. " All Germany like a sea, and Cracovia flooded." — Short. 

Holland. 1st November. "A dire inundation of the sea, and 100,000 
drowned." — Shobt. 

Turkey. The rivers greatly swollen, and pestilential diseases 

Naples. Terrible inundation. 

England. 18 Henry VIII. " In November, December, and January 
fell such abundance of Reine that thereof ensued great Flouds, 
which destroyed Corne-fields, Pastures and Beasts. Then was it 
drie until the 12th April ; and from that time, it rained every day 
and night, till the 3rd June : whereby Corne failed sore in the 
yeare falling." — Old Chronicle. 

England. Great flood. 

Switzerland. June 13 or 14. Great flood at Basle. England, 
2nd October. Great flood in Thames. 

England. Great floods all the year. Rome. 8th October. Great 

Holland. Great floods. 

Poland. Extensive floods. 

Tuscany. 12th August. Great floods. 

England. 13th June. Severe rain floods. 

„ " The Thames flowed thrice in nine hours." — Shobt. 

Marpurg [? Marpod or Mariapod, Austria]. January and February. 
Great floods. 

Budissina (Saxony). 13th August. Great floods. 

Germany and Holland. 19th January. Great floods in the Rhine. 

Ireland. Perpetual rain all winter ; great floods. 

England. 21st September. Great floods in the Thames. 

France. 10th September. Floods near the district of Languedoc. 

Brussels. 21st April. Great floods. 

England. 20th September. The Thames greatly overflowed. 

the World : Past and Present 


Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 









Louvain (France). Great inundation from the sea ; wind. 
England and France. Great floods. 
England. 5th October. Inundation from the sea. 
Holland. Inundation. A strong north-west wind occurring during 
the high tides, drove the sea with such violence against the dvkes 
that several of them were broken down. The waters rush in on 
every side, and rolling forward with resistless fury, swept away 
houses, trees, men, and cattle, in one universal ruin. Entire 
villages were destroyed. The number of lives lost in Friesland 
alone was estimated at 20,000 ; and was very extensive in other 
provinces. " The damage to property incalculable." The Spaniards 
(then at war with the Netherlands) imputed the flood, 1 which 
occurred on All Saints' Day, to the vengeance of God upon the 
heresy of the land ; the Netherlander looked upoD it as an omen 
portending some violent commotions. 
Flanders. August. Great floods ; also in France and Germany. 
Holland. 1st September. Inundation from the sea. 
Ley den (Holland). A violent equinoctial gale broke through the 
dykes. By this means the city, then besieged by the Spaniards, 
was saved. 
England. September and October. Great inundation from the sea 

and from rains. 
England. 36 Elizabeth. " In May fell many great showers of raine, 
but in June and July much more, for it commonly rained day and 
night till St. James's eve ; and on St. James's-day in the afternoon 
it began again, and continued for two days together. Notwith- 
standing there followed a fair harvest. But in September great 
raines raysed high waters, such as stayed the carriges, and bore down 
bridges, as at Cambridge, Ware, and elsewhere. Also graine grew to 
be a great price — a bushell of wheat at 6s., js., or 8*., &c, which 
dearth happened more through the merchants* overmuch transporting 
than the unreasonableness of the weather past." — Penkethman. 
Germany. Considerable floods. 
England. " Floods all summer." — Shoet. 
Rome. Considerable floods. 
England. November. Floods. 

29th March. General floods. 

The waters rose above the tops of the houses, and upwards 
of 100 people perished in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire. Flood 
also in Coventry, which destroyed 257 houses. 
The author of a rare tract, " God's Warning, &c," published this 

year, says : — 
" Upon Tuesday, being the twentieth of Ianuary last past 1607, in 
diuers places, as well in the westerne parts of England, as also in 
diuers other places of the realme, there hapened such an ouerflowing 
of waters, such a violent swelling of the seas, and -such forcible 
breaches made into the firme land, namely, into the bosomes of 
these counties following, that is to say, in the counties of Glocester, 
Sommerset, together with the counties of Munmouth, Glamorgan, 
Carmarthen, and diuers and sundry other places of South Wales j 
the like never in the memory of man hath ever bin seine or heard 
of; the suddayne terror whereof strooke such an amazed feare 
into the hearts of al the inhabitants of those parts, that eury one 
prepared him self e ready to entertayne the last period of his lives 
distruction, deeming it altogether to be a second deluge, or an 
universal punishment by water." — Harleian Miscellany, iii, 64 — 5. 
France. The Loire overflowed its banks and caused great destruction 

of property. 
England. Floods from rain all November and December. 
Germany, France, Sfc. All grain destroyed \>y rains. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World— Contd. 





June 20 















Lincolnshire (England). The sea came 12 miles inland. 

Manchester. " An extraordinary flood." 

Catalonia (Spain). Great floods; 15,000 people perished. 

Thuringia (Germany). July. Great rain floods. 

Germany. November. Great floods. 

Austria, Hungary, Sfc. The Danube greatly overflown. 

England. 6th June. Great floods. 

Austria ; Danube. September. " A cloud loaded with a sea of 

water burst." 
Apulia (Naples). Great floods. 

Mexico, city of, deluged from the mountains. The effects con- 
tinued for several years. 
Scotland. Great floods in the Clyde. 
Cork (Ireland). A "prodigious flood of the sea" swept away some 

of the public buildings and bridges. 
JEast Friesland. 1st September. Great floods. 
England. October. Great floods. 
Dresden. 23rd September. Great floods. 
Kaifong [or Cai-fong-fon] (China). Besieged by the rebels, and the 

embankments destroyed. It was computed that 300,000 perished 

by this inundation. 
Thuringia (Austria). Great floods. 
Spain and Holland. Considerable floods. 

Holland, Friesland, Zealand, fyc. Great inundations. Some autho- 
rities state that as many as 110,000 persons were drowned. 
England. " This was a most exceedingly wet year : neither frost nor 

snow all the winter for more than six days in all. Cattle died 

everywhere of a murrain.' ' — Evelyn's Diary. 
England. Very general floods. 

„ January. Considerable floods. 

Rome. Floods. 

Faversham (Kent). Considerable floods. 
England. 11th November. Great floods in Thames valley. 
Kent. Considerable floods. 
England. Great flooding of rivers ; and inundations from the sea. 

„ October. Great floods. 

Bridgewater (Somerset). Great floods. 
Middlesex (England). Considerable floods. 
Oxford. June. Great floods. 
Ireland. " An inundation near Londonderry." 
England. " Bain, hail, floods, all the summer." — Shoet. 
Yorkshire. A rock opened and poured out water to the height of 

a church steeple. — Philosophical Transactions. 
Ireland. Excessive rains ; great flood in Dublin. 

„ Flood at Limerick ; " half Limerick drowned." 
Europe. Great rains and floods over continent of Europe. 
England. Great inundation at Dagenham (Essex), May, continuing 

over several years. 
Mobile (U.S.A.). City almost destroyed by inundations at the 

mouth of the Mobile river. 
Zealand; Hamburg. Inundation from the sea in Zealand; 1,300 

persons drowned. " Incredible damage done in Hamburg." 
Northampton (England). A great flood did considerable damage. 
Adige (Italy). Terrible floods occurred in the valley through which 

this river (the ancient Athesis) runs. 
Yorkshire. Extensive rains and great damage ; known as " Eipon 

Flood." (See 1771.) 
Madrid (Spain). Great floods; many persons of distinction drowned. 
Adige (Italy). Great floods in the valley of the. 
Europe. Great inundations and floods " all over Europe. 


the World : Past and Present. 


Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 








England and Ireland. Great rains and floods. 

Chili. The city of Conception inundated. 

Belper (Derbyshire). A flood carried away the bridge over the 
Derwent and did other damage. 

England. Great floods from the breaking up of frost and snow of 
the preceding severe winter. 

Dublin. Heavy rains and great floods ; shipping at Dublin injured. 

Limerick (Ireland). Great flood ; much damage. 

Dublin. Great flood ; serious damage to bridges, &c. 

Wales. 19th September. Great rain storm : 10,000 sheep drowned. 

Ireland. Great inundations through the country. 

Germany ; Holland. Great overflow of the Rhine. 

England and Scotland. Great rain storms in early spring. 

Germany and Holland. Serious floods. 

England and Europe. Great floods. 
,, Great rains and floods. 

Ireland. Great floods ; especially in Cork and Dublin. 

Europe. Great rains and floods in south of Europe. 

England. Great flood in the Thames Valley, and other parts of 

Dublin. 21st October. Serious flood and much damage. 

Spain. Great destruction at Lisbon. 

Burhanpoor (in the Deccan, Hindustan). The river Taptee greatly 
swollen in consequence of heavy rains, and one-fourth of the city 
inundated, and one-tenth of the houses destroyed. 

England Great rains and floods. "A remarkable year for floods 
and high waters." — White's Selborne. 

Ireland. Floods. "Above zoo persons perished on the river Nore." 

In the Gentleman's Magazine there are melancholy accounts of the 
damage resulting from the thaw, after the six weeks' frost, and by 
the rains which followed : — " Rivers have overflowed their banks, 
and laid vast tracts of land under water, cattle in many places have 
perished, and in some are deprived of food j people have been forced 
to leave their dwellings, and take refuge in the neighbouring towns j 
in short, such a scene of calamity and distress as is to be seen in 
the counties of Lincoln and Cambridge has never been known in 
this island by the oldest man [in] it. The vast extent of meadow 
from the source of the Thames to the river's mouth is almost 
covered with water. The great bank between Peterborough and 
Wisbeach in Cambridgeshire has been broken down, and near 
400,000 acres of land overflowed. The river Welling in Lincoln- 
shire has likewise broke its banks, and overflowed Porsend and 
Crowland fens. . . . The river Severn has likewise risen to an un- 
common height, and laid the meadows on each side its banks under 
water to an immense extent. About Birmingham the floods are 
inconceivable. In short such general floods were never known." 

Europe. Great floods. 

Ireland. January. Great floods in Dublin, Cork, and other parts. 

England and Europe. General rain storms and floods. 

Ireland. Great floods throughout the south. 

England. An apparent irruption of the sea. The tide rose so 
high in the Thames that the damage occasioned was estimated at 
50,000?. On the sea-board of Essex several islands were sub- 
merged. At Aldborough (Suffolk) the sea flowed in at the windows 
of several houses, bore down a few, and damaged many. The in- 
habitants were driven to the greatest distress. Much damage done 
near Ipswich. Ayrmouth (Scotland), the sea breached over many of 
the houses, the high street was like a sea, and the consternation of 
the inhabitants inexpressible. — Gentleman's Magazine, Jan., 1767. 


Walfoed— On the Famines of 



Table II.— ^Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 

England — Con td. 

" The floods are every where out ; but the most melancholy effects of 
these inundations are almost always felt in the fen counties, where 
a breach in the banks generally lays whole districts under water. 
By a breach in Deeping Bank, several thousand acres are now under 
water ; and by the north bank of the River Glen giving way, the 
north fens are overflowed, by which the inhabitants of the villages 
between Peterborough and Lincoln are reduced to the most 
deplorable circumstances : their cattle carried away, and their 
houses three or four feet under water. Many other places have 
shared the same fate ; and in short their consternation and distress 
is such as none can conceive but those who have been in the like 
situation." — Gentleman's Magazine, February. 

Wales. " No man living ever saw such floods." 

Scotland. The inundations on the breaking up of the snow did 
incredible damage. At Lochinabar the waters of Annan came down 
with such rapidity as to take houses, cattle, corn, and everything 
along with them. — Gentleman's Magazine, February. 

Ireland. The waters of the Liffey overflowed, doing great damage. 

India. There were heavy floods in Behar and the district (Bengal) 
in August of this year, and then very little rain for nearly two 
years. (See Famines, 1770.) 

India. Great flood in the Eastern Provinces (Bengal), by which 
much of the benefit which would have followed a two years' 
drought was diverted. 

Holland. " Terrific floods, combined with an infectious disease rife 
among the cattle." — Davies' Holland. 

Yorkshire (England). A dreadful inundation, called the Ripon Flood. 
— Vincent ; also in Northumberland, Newcastle bridge carried away. 

Ireland. Great mountain torrents. 

Venice. A village carried away. 

Naples. Great damage from the sea. 

Calcutta. Great destruction by rain and floods. 

England. Great floods at Battersea and Chelsea. 

Rotterdam (Holland). The Meuse overflowed, doing considerable 

England. Wet autumn and winter. " The land-springs, which we 
call levants, break out much on the downs of Sussex, Hampshire, 
and Wiltshire. The country people say, when the levants rise, 
corn will always be dear; meaning that when the earth is so 
glutted with water as to send forth springs on the downs and 
uplands, that the corn vales must be drowned ; and so it has 
proved for these last ten or eleven years past ; for land-springs 
have never obtained more since the memory of man than during 
that period ; nor has there been known a greater scarcity of all 
sorts of grain, considering the great improvements of modern 
husbandry. Such a run of wet seasons a century or two ago 
would, I am persuaded, have occasioned a famine. Therefore 
pamphlets and newspaper letters that talk of combinations tend to 
influence and mislead ; since we must not expect plenty till Pro- 
vidence sends us more favourable seasons." — White's Selborne. 

Kent. Great floods. 

France. 25th April. Village of Bar le Due destroyed ; and other 

Dublin. Great flood ; 6 feet of water in St. Patrick's cathedral. 

England. Great flood of the Tyne. It was on this occasion that 
the stock in trade of Bryson, the great Newcastle bookseller, whose 
shop was on the old bridge, was "washed out." — Cubwen's History 
of Booksellers, p. 452. 

England. Great floods in Northumberland j Hexham and other 
bridges thrown down. 















the World : Past and Present. 






Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World— Contd. 

England. Great floods in Yorkshire ; Tadcaster bridge thrown down, 

and several lives lost. 
India. Some of the north-west provinces of the Punjaub suffered 

very severely from floods after a great drought. December. 
England. Great floods in September and October of this year. 
Germany. Extended floods and vast destruction of property. 
Sussex. Irruption of the sea ; block-house at Brighthelmstone washed 

87 Manchester. A great flood did much damage. 

'87 Ireland. Great flood in most of the principal rivers of Ireland. 

Also in Dublin ; 8 feet of water in the cathedral. 

'87 Navarre (Spain). September. Great torrents from the mountains ; 

over 2,000 persons lost their lives. May. 
'87-88 India. Floods in Behar and other north-west provinces of the 
Punjab ; said to have caused loss of 15,000 lives and 100,000 herd 
of cattle. " The rains commenced abnormally early in 1787, and 
continued for months almost without cessation. In some of the 
districts of Bengal and in Behar it is stated that from the latter 
part of March to the latter half of July, they had continued with 
such violence as almost to render cultivation impossible. There 
was a break in the rains about the end of July, but early in 
September the waters were out again as widely as ever in Sylhet, 
and similar complaints were made from Jesson, Nuddea, and 
Central Bengal. About 1st October a tremendous storm of rain and 
wind swept all over the western districts of Bengal, which ended 
in a cyclone of unexampled extent, which seems to have swept 
across almost the whole of Bengal. By this disaster the late crops, 
which, after all previous disasters were fast getting into ear, were 
in a great measure destroyed over larger tracts of country." — 
Danvers, 1877. 

'88 Scotland. The bursting in of the dam-dykes at Kirkwald caused 

great destruction. 

'89 England. Great rain storms in the north. 

'91 Cuba. Great torrents of rain ; 3,000 persons and 1*1,700 head of 

cattle of various kinds drowned. 
'91 England. The Don, the Derwenfc, and the Trent all greatly over- 

'91 Italy. Extended floods at Placentia. 

'92 Worcestershire. Extended floods near Broomsgrove (April). 

'92 Lancashire. Great floods (August). 

June 21 Retford (Notts.) Great floods which caused much damage to the 
1795 town ; and in other parts of the country caused by melting of snow. 

JL800 West Indies. Great destruction at St. Domingo ; 1,400 lives lost. 

1800 China. Great floods. 

'01 Holland and Germany. Great damage on sea coasts. 

'02 England. Great floods ; much damage to shipping, etc. 

'02 Dublin. January and February. Great overflow of the Liffey. 

" Immense damage." 

1802 Europe. In the south great rain storms. 

April 14 Lorea (Mercia in Spain). A reservoir burst, which inundated more 
than 20 leagues, and drowned upwards of 1,000 persons, besides 

1807 Dublin. Great floods in the neighbourhood. 

'08 England. Floods in various parts. 

'10 Lincolnshire. Breaking down of sea-banks. 

'11 JPesth (Hungary). Overflow of Danube, by which twenty-four 

April villages and their inhabitants were swept away. 

May Shropshire (England). Bursting of a cloud near Salop; many 

persons and cattle drowned. 
October Luneburg. Tillage of Wurgen swept away by overftoroa.^ oi "E2&». 


Walford— On the Famines of 

Table II.- Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 

a.d. . 





Jan. 2 
March 21 

April 22 
June &\ 

July J 











Nov. 19.... 






Aug. 9 .... 


Austria^ Hungary, and Poland. Great floods from rain during the 

summer. Produced famine in Poland ; and caused loss of 4,000 lives. 
Widdin (Danube). September 14. Island near, on which were 

2,000 Turkish troops, suddenly flooded ; all drowned. 
Silesia (Prussia). The floods caused the death of about 6,000 

inhabitants ; and the ruin of the French army under Macdonald 

was accelerated by the same cause. — Vincent. 
America. Great overflow of the Mississippi ; immense damage. 
Ireland. The Shannon again overflowed and did great damage. 
Bengal. Great overflow of Narbudda river, sweeping away villages, 

inhabitants, and cattle. 
Strabane (Ireland). The melting of the snow in the mountains 

caused most destructive floods. 
England. Great floods in Northumberland and Durham. 
Germany. The Vistula overflowed j many villages submerged ; great 

loss of life and property. 
Ireland. Great floods at Londonderry. 

Germany. Harvest greatly endangered from continued rains. 

England. Great quantities of rain fell ; harvest much delayed. 
Also on continent. 

Ireland. Great floods ; waterspout in Clare. 

England. June. Large tracts of land flooded in the Fen Country. 

Ireland. Great floods in the north. 

England. Disastrous rains and floods. 

Ireland. August and September. Serious floods and rains through- 
out the west ; not only was hay and grain washed away, but the 
potatoes were swept up out of the ground. October. Heavy rains 
and floods. November. Incessant rains and floods ; Shannon rose 
greatly. Also floods in Dublin. 

Great Britain. January. Great storms and floods through British 
Islands generally. 

Ireland. Great storms and inundations at Wexford and Cork. 

Geneva. Great floods ; serious damage. 

Havanna. Great deluge at. 

Belfast (Ireland). Great floods at. 

St. Petersburg (Russia). Flooded from the overflowing of the Neva. 
The river rose to the first story of the houses in this city. Car- 
riages and horses were swept away, and a regiment of Carabineers, 
who had climbed to the roof of their barracks, were drowned. At 
Cronstadt a 100-gun ship of the line was left in the middle of the 
market-place. In the two places more than 10,000 lives were lost, 
and property to the amount of many millions of roubles was 
destroyed. The Neva had overflown in 1728, 1729, 1735, 1740, 1742, 
and 1777 ; but none of these occasions was equal to that of 1824. 

Denmark. During a violent storm the sea broke through the isthmus 
between the North Sea and Lymfiord, thereby making the north 
part of Jutland an island. 

Rotterdam (Holland). The Meuse overflowed, doing considerable 

Naples. Destructive inundations. 

Ireland. Great rise of the Shannon ; Cork also flooded. 

Dantzic. The Vistula broke through its dykes, by which some 4,000 
houses were destroyed and many of their occupants drowned. About 
10,000 head of cattle were lost. 

Scotland. The " Moray Floods " caused by rainfall, when the Spey 
and Findhorn rose in some places 50 feet above their ordinary level, 
and caused great destruction of property. Many lives were lost. — 
Sib T. D. Laudee. 

Ireland. Great floods in south of Ireland. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World— Contd. 











Oct. 31 

Nov. 4 


Jan. 16 




Oct. 22 





1850 .... 



Feb. 5 





July 9 .;., 

Nov. 2.... 

Vienna. February. The dwellings of 50,000 of the inhabitants were 
under water. 

Coblentz (Prussia). In the spring the waters of the Moselle thawed 
before those of the Rhine, and being stopped by the ice, did very 
considerable damage. 

Ireland. Great floods in the Liffey; and waterspouts in various 
parts of the country. 

Coringa (Hindustan) . Great and most destructive inundation. 

Canton (China). Incessant rains ; about 10,000 houses were swept 
away, and 1,000 persons drowned. The rains extended to other 
parts of China. 

Calcutta (India). A high tide in the Hooghly committed great 

Gibraltar. Waterspout and great damage from floods. 

England. Floods caused by thaw. 

France. The Saone poured its waters into theBhone, broke through 
its banks, and covered 60,000 acres. Lyons was inundated. In 
Avignon 100 houses were swept away, still a greater number at La 
GuiUotiere ; and upwards of 300 at Yaise, Marseilles, and Nismes. 
Many villages almost swept away. The Saone had not attained 
such a height for two hundred and thirty-eight years. 

Middlesex. Great floods at Brentford and surrounding dis- 
tricts; many lives lost, and considerable^ destruction of pro- 

France. Great floods at Macon and neighbourhood ; immense 
damage done. 

Ireland. Great floods at Limerick ; waterspouts elsewhere. 
„ Extensive floods in the east and south. 

China. Great floods. " Along the shores of the Yellow Sea the 
phenomenon took the character of a second deluge j whole pro- 
vinces being submerged." 

France. Overwhelming inundations in the centre, west, and south- 
west; numerous bridges, with the viaduct of the Orleans and 
Yierzon Railway, swept away. The latter had cost 6 million francs 
[240,000?.]. Tne Loire rose 20 feet in one night. The total destruc- 
tion was estimated at 4,000,000?. sterling. 

Inverness (Scotland). Great overflow of the river Ness, which swept 
away the old bridge and did other damage. 

Ireland. Great floods in County Kerry j bridges destroyed, &c. 
August. Great floods in Limerick. 

Belgium. Calamitous flood. 

Khartoum (Egypt). "An inundation occurred." 

Ireland. Great and destructive floods alike in spring and 

HoVmfirthy near Huddersfield (Yorks). The reservoir burst, conse- 
quent upon a rain-flood. Between 90 and 100 persons perished; 
and property was destroyed of the value of 600,000?., consisting of 
woollen mills, houses, &o., in the valley. 

England. Dreadful storms and floods in many parts of the country, 
more especially in the Severn valley ; also in Derbyshire ; in Sussex, 
and in Scotland and in Dublin. 

Switzerland and parts of Belgium, France and Germany suffered 
severely. For full details of floods at home and abroad this year, 
see Gentleman's Magazine. 

South Wales. Great floods caused by rain. At Brecon the Houdda 
rose to a great height, and carried away the bridge. Many houses 
inundated. People escaped by resorting to the upper parts of their 

Cork. Great overflow of the Lee. St. Patrick's bridge swept away, 
with many people on it. 


Walfoed— On the Famines of 

Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 



Jan. 1 


Jan., Feb. 


May 4 
Oct. 4 




Mar. 11 

Oct. 31.... 








74 ... 

May 16.. 

Hamburg. An overflow of the Elbe laid the greater part of the city 
under water. 

France (South of) . Great floods, occasioning loss of agricultural pro- 
duce and other property to the extent of 140 million frs. (5,600,000/.) . 

Frome (Burmah) . Great overflow of the Irrawaddy nearly destroyed 
this town. 

Holland. Great inundations. About 30,000 of the peasantry 
rendered destitute. 

Montreal (Canada). Flood, occasioned by the breaking of the ice of 
the St. Lawrence in the spring, laid the greater part of the city under 
water, and occasioned the destruction of a large amount of property. 

St. Germain* (near King's Lynn). Great inundations through the 
bursting of the Middle Level Sluice. Some 10,000 acres of culti- 
vated land submerged. Another marshland sluice burst; large 
tract flooded. 

Melbourne (Australia). A flood, caused by the rising of the waters of 
the Yarravarra40 feet above their usual level, submerged the greater 
portion of the city and destroyed property to the value of 250,000$. 

Bradfield Reservoir (near Sheffield). The embankment gave way at 
midnight ; the water rushed in torrents through the neighbouring 
villages. Great destruction of property, and 250 persons drowned. 

Arelas (France) . The bridge of boats and much property destroyed 
by a sudden rising of the Rhone. 

France. September. Most extensive damage from floods. 

England. Great floods in the north, especially in Yorkshire, 
Lancashire, and Derbyshire ; farms destroyed, mills thrown down, 
railways stopped, and mines flooded. The towns of Leeds, Man- 
chester, Preston, and Wakefield suffered much. 

Baltimore (U. S.). 24th July. Great damage to the city by flood. 
Many lives lost. 

Ireland. January. Great floods in Cork, Dublin, and other places. 

Rome. December. Considerable floods, causing great distress. 

England. Extensive floods. Mr. Alfred Haviland published a 
paper The Present Floods and the Cancer Fields. 

Burmah. Great floods near Prome. 

Manchester. The Medlock overflowed its banks and caused great 
destruction of property. 

Italy. Great floods in north of Italy ; the Po and other rivers over- 
flowed; thousands of people unhoused. Mantua, Ferrara, &c, 
suffered much. 

India. Great floods in Khandeishand Nassick (Bombay Presidency). 
These floods were mainly attributable to the denudation of the hills 
of their forest trees. There was in consequence nothing either to 
absorb or arrest the rainfall, which descended the hills in torrents, 
destroyed dwellings, and occasioned much loss of human life and 
cattle, as also great damage to the water courses and property 
generally ; vide Administrative Report on Forest Department in 
Bombay Presidency, 1875-76. (See notes at end of Table of 

London. March. Great damage on banks of Thames from yerj high 

United States. Great floods in the Mississippi valley, mainly in 
Louisiana. About 250,000 acres of cotton, 100,000 acres of corn, 
and 500,000 acres of sugar were submerged. New Orleans was in 
considerable danger for a time, part of the levees which protect 
that city being broken down. About 25,000 persons were wholly or 
partially ruined. 

Massachusetts (U. S.). Reservoir in Mill River Valley, near North- 
ampton, burst. Several villages destroyed and about 140 lives 

the World : Past and Present 


Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd, 



July 24 

„ ^SO.».. 







August ... 





1875 .... 
Sept. 9 






1877, Jan. 


Nevada (U. S.). Great rainfall and waterspout. About thirty lives 

Pittsburg and Alleghany (U. S.) . Great rain storm ; rivers seriously 

flooded and about 220 persons drowned. 
This is one of the most generally disastrous years on record for floods. 

We shall endeavour to give a brief geographical record. 
France, Tremendous floods in the south; at Toulouse, Verdun, 

&c., many villages swept away ; in the whole 6,900 houses destroyed. 

About 1,000 lives lost. The loss, mainly occasioned by the rising 

of the Garonne, was estimated at from 12,000,000^. to 15,000,000?. 

Public subscriptions opened in England. 
Hungary. Disastrous floods near Buda-Pesth ; great loss of life and 

England. Great floods in the midland and eastern counties, West of 

England, Wales, and in Eastern Scotland. 
Hungary. Another storm broke over Buda-Pesth; great damage. 

Public subscriptions opened. 
Silesia. Torrents of rain ; great damage. 
Germany. A waterspout burst near the town of Kirn j a number of 

persons drowned ; much property destroyed. 
United States. Great floods in the Central States; in Central 

Illinois, and in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys ; also in Arkansas. 
JBurmah. Heavy floods, exceeding those of 1871. 
India. Disastrous floods in the north-west provinces ; great loss of 

life and destruction of property. 
France. Again great floods in the south of France, at Montpelier, 

&c. Vineyards damaged. 
Switzerland. Great floods in Canton Glarus. Holland. Great 

West Indies. At the Island of St. Vincent 19 inches of rain fell in 

twelve hours. 
Texas. Great flood in Indianola, nine-tenths of houses destroyed, 

and much other damage. Public subscription through the U. S. 
England. Great floods in the Midland Counties, also in the north- 
western counties at Dawlish. 
Venice. A considerable flood ; the Adriatic driven in by a gale. 
France and Holland. March. Severe inundations. 
China. Great floods in the northern provinces. 
Wales. Great damage in South Wales from overflow of River 

Ebbw ; collieries damaged, &c. 
Bengal. Great inundation of tidal wave, consequent upon hurricane. 

Estimates of loss of life as high as 200,000 ; loss of property immense. 
Scotland. Great floods in Perth and Forfar. Caledonian Bailway 

much injured. 
England. Floods generally throughout England. 
Turkey. Deluge of rain round Adrianople ; 1,000 houses said to be 

swept away ; and other serious damage. ' 
Spain and Portugal. Great floods in Andalusia, and especially in 

Seville. Also in southern Portugal. See Times, 26th December. 
London and England generally. Great damage done in the southern 

districts of London by high tide combined with floods ; also in 

Thames Valley generally. Destruction estimated at over 200,000?. 

A subscription opened by Lord Mayor for relief of poorer sufferers. 

Large sums raised. In the eastern, midland, and south-western 

counties great floods. 
California. In the early months of this year great damage was sus- 
tained in the lowlands of this important grain-producing State. 

We draw the following summary from the letter of the (London) 

Times correspondent :— 
" By the overflow of the Sacramento and American rivers, the ^rt\a\& 


Walfokd — On the Famines of 



1878, Feb. 

Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World — Contd. 

California — Contd. 
country around Sacramento was flooded, the water breaking through 
the levees that were built to protect the city from inundation, and 
the safety of the entire city was at one time imperilled. The river 
rose 25 feet u£ inches above low water mark, and a rise of a few 
inches more would have completely swamped the city. Fortunately 
the Yolo levees gave way in time, and allowed the water within the 
embankment to spread out over the Yolo and Solano plains. Im- 
mense exertions were made to repair the broken levees by means of 
sand bags, which were brought to the scene of disaster by a loco- 
motive, followed by a train of flat cars. In the neighbouring town 
of Washington the water in many places stood 10 feet deep, trees 
were laid prostrate, and shanties and outhouses washed away. 
Although several houses were completely wrecked and a great deal 
of property destroyed, no lives were lost, though several persons had 
very narrow escapes. In other parts of the country the people 
were not so fortunate. Of the twenty-five islands which may be 
counted in the Sacramento Archipelago, scarcely one was to be seen 
during the inundation, Union and Sherman Islands, both protected 
by levees, having been submerged. Boats and steamers were busy 
in every direction in affording assistance to the distressed, and 
moving among the islands and sloughs for the purpose of carrying 
off cattle and people to the mainland. 
" In Sutter county the whole of the tule lands were overflowed, dwell- 
ings, barns, outhouses, and fencing completely destroyed, and a large 
amount of grain in bags carried away by the flood. The loss in live 
stock in many parts of the country has also been very severe. The 
area of land thus submerged embraces the richest and most pro- 
ductive portions of the State, sufficient to produce cereals for our 
entire population. Besides the immense amount of damage sus- 
tained in loss of property, the floods have left a deposit of silt, to 
do away with which will cause much trouble and expense to our 
farmers. What the amount of loss experienced in the Sacramento 
Valley is, I have not the means of ascertaining, but it is supposed 
to be several million dollars. The bed of the Sacramento has been 
elevated several feet, and the elevation increases in some places at 
the rate of about one foot a-year. The dSbris washed down from 
mining camps above the Yuba River long since caused an overflow 
of lands in the Marysville district, and the entire destruction of 
agricultural pursuits on those lands. The same causes are extend- 
ing to and influencing the Sacramento, and even the harbour at 
Mare Island, the naval station of the Pacific, is said to be shoaling 
so much as to prevent freedom to navigation. The question as to 
whether mining tailings should be allowed to be shot into rivers, 
and, by filling them up, injuring agricultural interests, has long 
been discussed by the legislature ; but the consideration of impeded 
navigation and the serious destruction of property by excessive 
floods, will probably now turn the scale in favour of some restric- 
tions on the mining interest, which has so long withstood any 
reform in this respect." 
Australia. "After the terrible drought which has afflicted the 
country, the. abundant storms have been welcomed, but the parched 
earth has not been equal to carrying off such an enormous quantity 
of water suddenly poured upon it, and disastrous floods have fol- 
lowed, causing great destruction of life and property. The railway 
at Campbeltown was flooded to a depth of 2 feet, mail carts have 
been washed away, numbers of trees, fences, walls, &c, uprooted 
and thrown down, bridges destroyed, and other similar serious dis- 
asters have occurred. At Scone, near Sydney, 1*33 inches of rain 
fell in twenty-five minutes. Some hailstones which accompanied 
the rain measured as much as ii inch in circumference. Serious 

the World : Past and Present* 


Table II. — Of the Floods and Inundations of the World— €ontd. 








1878 .... 

May ... 

1878 ... 


Australia — Contd. 
damage has also been done by heavy thunderstorms, many build- 
ings being struck and destroyed by lightning." During a storm in 
Sydney, as much as io*88 inches of rain fell in forty-eight hours. 

Ceylon. " During the last four months Ceylon has been visited by a 
succession of floods, which have caused great destruction of pro- 
perty and seriously impaired the prospects of the coming coffee crop. 
In some districts as much as 50 inches of rain have been registered 
in twenty days; and from the 1st of November to the 20th of 
January last, 130 inches of rain were gauged at Laggala. The 
natives express the opinion that the ' sky is moth eaten, and hence 
the constant leakage/ Up to the last advices from Chile the pros- 
pects of fine weather were as remote as ever. Rice and grain have 
consequently increased enormously in price — from an exactly oppo- 
site cause to that which gave rise to the late famine in the adjoin- 
ing continent, and which has also created such distress in Australia 
and at the Cape of G-ood Hope. In all these colonies prolonged 
droughts, which have only just broken, have prevailed to such an 
extent as to seriously interfere with business operations of all kinds." 
— Newspaper Correspondence. 

France. " There were inundations in the Indre-et-Loire, and the 
Seine and other rivers were also very high. Snow is falling in the 
east, and frost has done some mischief in the south. At Yernay, 
near Tours, the flood swept away a bridge over a rivulet, and part 
of a luggage train fell into the water, the stoker and conductor 
being drowned." — Times Telegram. 

England. Very heavy fall of rain in and round London. Great 
floods in Kent. At Lewisham (a suburb of London) all ordinary 
traffic was suspended, and the inhabitants were carried through the 
streets to the railway stations in boats, carts, &c. A subscription 
was raised for the poorer sufferers. 

This rainfall drew the following statement from Mr. Samuel Kinns, 

"Perhaps the following calculation in reference to the late fall of 
rain, which was said to amount to 3 inches, may interest your 
readers. This would equal 10,890 cubic feet, or 304 tons per acre, 
and taking the map of London generally published in the Post 
Office Directory to contain 120 square miles, there must have fallen 
on that surface 836,352,000 cubic feet, weighing 23,347,200 tons. 
This would be equal to the entire quantity of water contained in a 
canal 528 miles long, 30 feet broad, and 10 feet deep, being emptied 
upon London in twenty-four hours. The average annual rainfalls 
for the whole of England is estimated at 30 inches, but the amount 
differs greatly in the eastern and western districts. In Penzance it 
is 40 inches, and in London only 2 1 inches, therefore on the 10th 
and 11th of April we had one-seventh of the average rainfall for a 
whole year. No wonder that the streets were flooded, the marvel 
is that so little comparative mischief was done. 

England. Great floods in the Thames valley. 

Song-Kong. A correspondent to the Times wrote hence, under date 
31st May. " I have just been reading an account in your columns 
relative to an abnormal fall of rain in England. We in this distant 
tropical station may perhaps be allowed to smile when we compare 
9 inches of rain in three hours, which we have just had, with the 
English fall of about 3i inches in twenty-four hours. On the 
occasion to which I allude, there was nearly 1 5 inches in the twenty- 
four hours, an amount which very few of the gauges were com- 
petent to retain for registration." 

England. Great rainfall at Bath and other parts of the West of 

88 Walfoed — On the Famines of 

In this table will be found many details not strictly bearing 
upon famines ; but as the table, it is hoped, will have other uses 
than that immediately before us here, I have desired to make it as 
perfect as the materials at command would permit. 

The great frequency of Inundations from the sea will strike the 
careful reader of the preceding table. These inundations are 
occasioned by three principal causes: — 1. Unusually high tides 
supposed to be occasioned by lunar influences. 2. The tides acted 
upon by wind storms. 3. Undulation of earth's surface (in par- 
ticular localities) from the subterranean influence of earthquakes. 
Table IV will, it is hoped, throw some light upon these incidents. 

It is also seen from this table that the flooding of the Thames 
Valley is no new feature. 

White in his " Natural History of Selborne," gives a reason why 
lands which are much flooded remain unproductive : — 

"Lands that are subject to frequent inundations are always poor; and 
probably the reason may be, that the worms are drowned. The most insignificant 
insects and reptiles are of much more influence in the economy of nature, than the 
incurious are aware of: and are mighty in their effect from their minuteness, 
which renders them less an object of attention; and from their numbers and 
fecundity. Earth-worms, though in appearance a small and despicable link in the 
chain of nature, yet if lost would make a lamentable chasm . . . worms seem to 
be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but tamely without 
them, by boring, perforating, and loosening the soil, and rendering it pervious to 
rains and the fibres of plants ; by drawing straws and twigs into it ; and most of 
all by throwing up such infinite numbers of lumps of earth called worm-casts, 
which being their excrement, is a fine manure for grain and grass. Worms 
probably provide new soil for hills and slopes, when the rain washes the earth 
away . . . Earth without worms would soon become cold, hard-bound, and void 
of fermentation, and consequently sterile." 

2. Frosts. — In temperate zones, frost is a deadly enemy to vege- 
tation in several forms. In the matter of grain cultivation it may, 
by setting in early, prevent the efficient manipulation of the soil 
and the sowing of the autumn seed. Or by being protracted in 
the spring it will prevent spring sowing, or even seriously injure the 
young plants. Combined with rain it may even destroy the vitality 
of the seed while yet in the ground. And in the northern part of 
our island, it not unfrequently destroys the grain before it is fully 
harvested. Efficient drainage of the soil is almost as effective 
against the ravages of frost as against the damage from rain. 

Table ILL— The Gnat Frott* of History. 

1*4 ' EmiUmd* Thame* {rosea ow two months. 

153 ; ~„ Thames sad all rwrs rrosen nemrtr three months. 

173 H Three months* frost, follow*! by dearth. 

230 BritM. Frost lasted *w months <raUcuMKihr. 

350 i ITa/fsnarf Thames frosen ot*t line wwk 

390-91 | _ Most of tie mere frown forsfcous six vwb. 

&ef:,*ai£ Fourteen weefcs* trout ; also very arai* in Fjiwmd 

the World: Past cmd Present. 


401 ... 

474 ... 
525 ... 
558 ... 
604 ... 


















Tablb ILL— The Cheat Frosts of History— Contd. 

Europe. The Euxine Sea frozen ; also ports of Bosphorus. 

England. Frost with great snow for four months. 

Britain. Rivers all frozen for about two months. 

England. Thames hard frozen for six weeks. 

Eastern Europe. The Danube frozen oyer. 

Scotland. Four months' frost, followed by dearth; also severe in 

England. " A fetal frost." — Shobt. 

„ The Thames frozen over for six weeks. Trade carried on 

in booths, Ac. 
Asia. Terrible frost. 

England. Frost from 1st October to 26th February, 760. 
Constantinople. The two seas frozen. 
England. Great, after two or three weeks' rain. 

„ Thames frozen nine weeks. 

Poland. Great frost. 
Eastern Euorpe. Carriages were used on the Adriatic Sea. 

„ Mediterranean Sea frozen in various parts. 

England. Most of the rivers frozen for about two months. 
The Thames frozen over for thirteen weeks. 
" So great as to cause a famine." 
Severe frost. 

A frost that lasted 1 20 days ; began 22nd December. 
Thames frozen over five weeks. 
Very severe. 

Frost on Midsummer Day ; all grass and grain and fruit 
destroyed ; a dearth. — Shobt. 
England. Great frost, and severe plague and famine after. 
Thames frozen seven weeks. 
Thames frozen fourteen weeks. 
A great frost. 

Frost from 1st November to 15th April. " In the tenth 
year of his [William the Conqueror] reign, the cold of winter was 
exceedingly memorable, both for sharpness and for continuance ; for 
the earth remained hard frozen from the beginning of November 
until the midst of April then ensuing." — Sarleian Miscellany, iii, 
p. 167. 
England. " The weather was so inclement that in the unusual efforts 
made to warm the houses, nearly all the chief cities of the kingdom 
were destroyed, including a great part of London and St. Paul's." 
— FntES, Geeat, Insurance Cyclo., iv. 
England. These winters all very severe. 

„ Ghreat frost; timber bridges broken down by weight of 

ice. This year was the winter so severe with snow and frost, " that 
no man who was then living ever remembered one more severe ; in 
consequence of which there was great destruction of cattle." — Old 
England. Killed grain crops, "and much people and cattle;" 

famine followed. 
England. Very severe. 

„ Frost continued from 10th December to 19th February. 

„ Ghreat frost. 

Italy. Great frost in. 
England. Frost from Christmas to Candlemas. 

„ Frost from 14th January to 22nd March. " Frozen ale 

and wine sold by weight." — Shobt. " In the seventh year of King 
John began a great frost, which continued till the 22nd March, so 
that the ground could not be tilled, whereof it came to passe, that 
in the summer following a quarter of wheat was sold in man^ \faa 















































Walford — On the Famines of 

Table III. — The Great Frosts of History— Contd. 

England — Contd. 
in England for a mark [20*.], which for the more part of the days 
of Henry IT, was sold for 1 id., and a quarter of beans and peas for 
a noble, and a quarter of oats for 3*. 44Z., which were wont to bo 
sold for 4<Z." — Penkethman. 
England. Frost extended over fifteen weeks. 

Long and severe winter, followed by dearth. 

Severe and snow. 
Frost "lasted till Candlemas." 

" 18 Henry III was a great frost at Christmasse, which 
destroyed the corne in the ground, and the roots and hearbs in the 
gardens, continuing till Candlemasse without any snow, so that no 
man could plough the ground ; and all the yeare after was unseason- 
able weather, so that barrenesse of all things ensued, and many 
poor folkes died for the want of victualls, the rich being so 
bewitched with avarice that they could yeild them no reliefe." — 
The Mediterranean was frozen over in many parts, and merchants 

traded their merchandise with carts. 
England. Deep snow ; great frost after. 

St. Mark's night, frost and snow fatal to fruit trees. 
Very severe. 

1st January to 14th March, severe. 
" On St. Nicholas we began a month's hard frost." 
From 30th November to 2nd February. 
Began on St. Vincent's Day and lasted fifty days, severe. 
Great frost and snow. 
Severe all the winter. 
North of Europe, The Cattegat, or sea between Norway and 
Denmark, was frozen ; and that from Oxlo, in Norway, traders 
travelled on the ice to Jutland. 
Baltic. This sea covered with ice from Sweden to Q-othland. 

„ This sea covered with ice for fourteen weeks, between the 

Danish and Swedish islands. 
Baltic. This sea frozen and passable to travellers for six weeks. 
England. Severe frost without snow. 

„ Severe frost for twelve weeks, after rain. 

Baltic. This sea again frozen, and passable from Stralsund to Den- 
England. 6th December to 12th March. " Very cruel." 

„ 16th September to 6th April. " Very terrible." 

Baltic. This sea frozen from Pomerania to Denmark. 
England. Frost fourteen weeks ; small birds perished. 
Baltic Provinces. Severe frost. 
Eastern Europe. The sea between Constantinople and Iskodar frozen 

and passable. 
North of Europe. Ice-carried traffic from Lubec to Prussia. 
Germany. Very severe. 
England. 15th November to 10th February. Thames frozen down 

to Gravesend. 
England. " Great and long." 

North of Europe. The Baltic frozen from Mecklenburgh to Denmark. 
Flanders. Very severe frost ; wine cut with hatchets. 
England. Carriages crossed the Thames from Lambeth to Westminster. 
" Most severe." 

Very severe during December and January. 
Great frost. 

Flanders. Wine in casks frozen into solid lumps. 
North of Europe. Oxen sledges travelled on ice from Rostock to 





the World : Past and Present. 
























f 67 
















Table III. — The Great Frosts of History— Contd. . 

England. Diversions on the frozen Thames. 
Netherlands. Scheldt frozen so as to bear laden waggons. 
England. From 2nd November to 5th January, hard ; late spring. 

" Most hard." 
Europe. Rhine, Scheldt, and Adriatic at Venice frozen. 
England. Very severe in January. 

Fires and diversions on the Thames — seven weeks. 
" Severe and long." 

From 17th January to 7th March. There was republished 
in 1814, The Cold Yeare : a Deep Snow in which Men and Cattle 
perished; written in Dialogue between a London Shopkeeper and a 
Northcountryman. 1615. 4 to. 
England. Very severe from 24th November to 7th December. 
Greece. Ice covered the Hellespont. 
Eastern Europe. The Danube frozen. 
England. From 20th January to 12th February. 

From 15th December to 11th February, severe. 
8th December to 17th January ; severe. 
" Now was the Thames frozen over and horrid tempests 
frown'd." 22nd January. — Evelyn's Diary. 
England. From 1st December to 10th March, " north wind." 
North of Europe. The army of Charles X of Sweden crossed the 

ice from Holstein to Denmark — horse, foot, and artillery. 
England. 28th November : " A very hard frost." — Pepy's Diary. 
„ 28th January to 11th February : severe ; " 8th February 

being a very hard frost; 28th August, cold all night and this 
morning, and a very great frost, they say, abroad ; which is much, 
having had no summer at all, almost." — Pepy's Diary. 
England. 28th December to 7th February. 6th February : " One 
of the coldest days, they all say, ever felt in England." — Pepy's 
England. 15th February to 19th March. 

„ Severe, with some remissions. 

Prussia. The waters of the Rhine frozen at Coblentz from the 11th 
to 17th January, so that the artificers exercised their several trades 
upon the ice. 
England. 9th December to 9th February, with one remission. 
„ Frost. " Long and hard." 

,, " Terrible frost of long continuance. Many forest trees 

split. In the severe frost of 1683-84, not only oaks, but elms and 
ash of considerable bulk, and also walnut trees, were very much rent 
by the violence of the cold; oaks were most of all affected, and 
some split in such a manner as to be seen through, with a noise like 
the report of a gun. These clefts were not towards the same point 
of the compass. — Gent's Mag. 1743, p. 144. There was published: 
Modest Observations on the Present Extraordinary Frosty and of 
the most Eminent Frosts that have happened for many Hundred 
Years' Past. By T. T[byon]. 4to. Very severe also in the North 
of Europe : ice in the harbour of Copenhagen 27 inches thick. 
England. From 8th December to 30th January, with some remis- 
Europe. The severity of the weather drove the wolves into the 

cities, Vienna, &c. 
Germany and Italy. Severe in November and December. 
England. " Severe." 

„ 1st January to April. 

„ Great frost for three months, with snow, &c. " That 

dreadful winter." — White's Selbome. Mr. Derham supposed that 
this frost was greater than any within the memory of man. — Phil* 
Trans. Very little frost in Scotland or Ireland. 










Walford— On the Famines of 
Table TIL— The Great Frosts of History— Contd. 

England. Severe up to March. 

A fair held on the Thames ; oxen roasted. 
" A short severe frost." 
A month's severe frost. 

Holland. Very severe ; but none in Sweden or Norway. 

Italy and Spain. Very severe frosts ; none in Holland or Germany. 

England. Nine weeks' frost ; coaches plied on the Thames. " Will 
stand famous in history."— Shobt. " I well remember after that 
dreadful winter, 1739-40, that cold north-east winds continued to 
blow on through April and May." — White's Selborne. 

Ghent, the famous printer of York, in his life, tells how he set up 
a printing press on the river in that city during this frost, as 
follows : — 

"In January 1739 [n.s. 1740], the frost having been extremely 
intense, the rivers became bo frozen that I printed names upon the 
ice. It was a dangerous sport on the south side of the bridge, where 
I first set up, as it were, a new kind of press — only a roller wrapped 
about with blankets. Whilst reading the verses I had made to 
follow the names — wherein King G-eorge was most loyally inserted, 
some soldiers round about that made great acclamation, with other 
good people ; but the ice suddenly cracking, they almost as quickly 
run away, whilst I, who did not hear well, neither guessed the 
meaning, fell to work, and wondered at them as much for retiring 
so precipitately as they at me for staying ; but taking courage, they 
shortly returned back, brought* company, and I took some pence 
amongst them. After this I moved my shop to and fro, to the great 
satisfaction of young gentlemen, ladies, and others, who were very 
liberal on the occasion." Pp. 192 and 193. 

"This month (January) the frost, which began the 26th of last, 
grew more severe than has been known since the remarkable 
winter of 1715-16 ; so that many who had lived years at Hudson's 
Bay declared they never felt it colder in those parts. The Thames 
floated with rocks and shoals of ice. . . . Bookstalls and printing 
presses were erected, and a frost fair held on it ; multitudes walked 
over it, and some were lost by their rashness. Several perished 
with cold in the streets and fields in and about the city. All 
navigation being obstructed, coals rose to 3 1. ios. per chaldron. 
Many forest trees were split up by the frost, as had been the case 
in 1684." — Gentleman* 8 Magazine, 1740, p. 35. 

Denmark and Prussia. Very intense frosts. 

England. From 15th September to 1st February. " All frost or rain." 
„ Very severe for many weeks. " The frost having continued 
near three weeks, the streets in some parts of the city, though 
there had been no snow, were rendered very incommodious, and 
several accidents happened." — Gentleman's Magazine (18th) De- 
cember, 1742. 

Russia. Unusually severe. 

England. Very severe 5 especially at Bath and in south-west of 

Germany. Very severe. 

England. Frost lasted ninety-four days, and produced terrible effects. 
In the Gent' 8 Mag. for this year, it is stated that the frost set in on 
Saturday, 25th December, 1762 : "A most intense frost with easterly 
wind, which has since continued, with very little intermission, until 
the end of January. Some experiments have been tried during the 
course of it, which prove that on some days it was no less severe 
than that of 1740, though upon the whole it has not been attended 
with the same calamitous circumstances. On Friday, 31st December, 
a glass of water placed upon a table in the open air, in six minutes 
froze so hard as to bear 5 shillings upon it ; a glass of red port wine 

the World : Past and Present. 











Table III. — The Great Frosts of History — Contd. 

England — Contd. 
placed upon the same table froze in two hours; and a glass of 
brandy in six, both with hard ice." In Cornwall, Wales, and 
Ireland this frost was felt but slightly. 

Germany. The frost seems to have set in sooner. On the 18th Dec. 
at eight in the morning, the cold was 2° Fahr. below zero — the same 
as in 1740; the next day half a degree more, "which answers 
exactly the same degree of cold at Paris in 1739." — Gentleman's 

France. The olives and vines suffered much ; the Seine and Rhone 
being frozen over, the navigation was stopped, and provisions rose 
in Paris to famine prices. 

England. February 14th and 15th. Great rain-storm in the S. and 
S.W. of England, which, by reason of a north-east wind, became frozen 
as it fell, and thus weighting down large timber trees, produced 
terrible destruction. In the northern parts of England there was 
snow, accompanied by severe frost. — See Gentleman's Magazine, 

Europe. At Matisbon (Bavaria) the frost was bo severe that birds fell 
down dead with cold. On 13th January Reaumur's thermometer 
was 2° lower than in the severe weather in 1709. 

At 'Lisbon Reaumur's thermometer was 3^° below freezing-point. 

At Naples also the weather was so excessively severe that the snow 
lay knee deep in the streets ; Mount Vesuvius was also covered with 
snow, at the same time throwing up fire and black smoke, which 
made a most astonishing appearance. — Gentleman's Magazine, 

England. " Extreme frost." — White's Selborne. This was probably 
at the close of the year : for in the Gentleman's Magazine under date 
21st December, we find the following : "A severe frost set in from the 
E.S.E., which was followed by a deep snow, by which the navigation 
of the River Thames has been obstructed, and the posts retarded 
all over the kingdom." The frost was especially severe in the West 
of England. 

Denmark. January. At Copenhagen the cold was reported to be as 
intense as it had been in 1740. The Sound was frozen over, and 
there was communication with Sweden on the ice. 

Russia. January. The cold unusually intense ; many, both rich 
and poor, perished ; while many more were devoured by wolves in 
the forests. 

Prussia. January. In Berlin the cold was more severe than it was 
in 1740. The Rhine was frozen near Coblentz — a circumstance 
which the annals of that city record as a memorable event. The 
artificers again followed their several trades upon the ice. 

Italy. January. The cold was so severe as to drive the poor 
from their habitations in the country ; and some were said 
to have perished. — Gentleman's Magazine. January and Feb- 

France. 20th April. The frost was so severe in the province of 
Dauphiny, that it destroyed the vines, and cut off the blossoms of 
the early fruit trees. — Gentleman's Magazine. 

England. January. "We have had very severe frost and deep 
snow this month ; my thermometer was one day 14£° below freezing 
point, within doors. The tender evergreens were injured pretty 
much. It was very providential that the air was still, and the 
ground well covered with snow, else vegetation in general must 
have suffered prodigiously. There is reason to believe that some 
days were more severe than any since the year 1739-40." — White's 

Scotland. Very severe frost. 

England. April, severe frost. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table ILL— The Great Frosts of History— Contd. 








Frost and snow. — White's 

England. " Dreadful 

The Gentleman* 8 Magazine, 11th February, 1771, says, " Last night 
the frost was so intense that the thermometer was below 1° 12 dig. 
at about 11 o'clock/ And this morning the barometer was 2° lower 
than it was on 18th January last — consequently 2° lower than it 
has been known for these nine years." — p. 92. 

England. The thermometer at Northampton was on 30th January 
at 9°, by 2nd February it had risen to 40 . In the Phil. Trans, for 
this year (article xl) was a paper : Observations made during the 
late Frost at Northampton. By A. Fothergill, M.D. 

England. Frost lasted 84 days. 

Plymouth. 16th February. "The most intense frost almost ever 
biown The grass, which on Friday was as green and flourish- 
ing as if it had been midsummer, on Sunday morning seemed to be 
entirely killed. This is mentioned by our correspondent as very 
unusual in that part of the country; and the snow lay on the 
ground in many places." — Gentleman's Magazine, p. 93. 

France. " On the night of the 11th November, it froze so hard at St. 
Pons, a district in France, during a heavy shower of rain, so as to 
form a glazing as clear as crystal, and at the same time of the 
density of the most compact ice, and so thick that the tenderest 
twigs were in many places an inch thick. Hardly any trees were 
able to support the weight. Beech, ash, chestnuts, and oaks fell 
under it. Large branches were torn off, and some broke close to 
the roots. The most dismal prospect of desolation presented itself 
in the woods ; and the most lamentable apprehensions of famine 
spread consternation throughout the province. The potatoes were 
frozen in the ground, and the vines blasted in the vineyards. The 
hills in the diocese of St. Pons, Castres, and Lavour, have been 
most exposed to its rigour. The valleys and plains have suffered 
little, being covered with a very deep snow." — Gentleman* s Maga- 
zine, January, 1783, p. 24. 

England. Frost lasted 8 9 days. This frost commenced in December, 
and continued through January and February, and even in March 
there was snow and cold cutting winds. This frost was very general, 
as may be seen by the various accounts in the Gentleman** Magazine. 
Thus in the February number, " From different parts of the country 
we have accounts of more persons having been found dead in the 
roads, and others dug out of the snow, than ever was known in any 
one year in the memory of man." In the January number it was 
reported from Montrose : " This winter is likely to be still harder 
on the poor man than the last, and the more so by its immediately 
succeeding it." But up to the November preceding the winter had 
been so unusually mild, that on the 4th " the cattle seek shade at 
noon from the heat." On the 17th the thermometer stood at 56° 
indoors and out. On the 23rd and 24th there was frost and ice. 
On 30th November, " very hard frost." On 6th January, " Thames 
not frozen quite over, but navigation stopped by ice." Notices 
of great severity, especially at London, Canterbury, Salisbury, 
Worcester, Northampton, Barnard Castle, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, 
Mannheim, Borne, and Hungary. Frost especially severe from 
10th to 20th of February. In the last days of the month the 
spring flowers were out, and the birds were singing. In March, 
frost, snow, and thick ice all through. Deep snow in Hampshire 
continued till 3rd April. Thames frozen and traffic crossed at many 

On the fifth bell of the Tadcaster peal is recorded : " It is remarkable 
that these bells were moulded in the great frost, 1783. C. and B. 
Dalton, Fownders, York." 

the World : Past and Present 














Table III. — The Great Frosts of History — Contd. 

England — Contd. 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for February there is the following : 
" From 10th December, 1783, to this day it has been 63 days' frost ; 
of these it snowed nineteen, and twelve days' thaw, whereof it 
rained nine. Had the frost continued at 13°, as on the 31st 
December during the night, it would have frozen over the Thames 
in twenty-four hours." — p. 147. 

Southern Europe. There was severe frost in Venice, Genoa, and 

England. Severe frost. At Hinckley (Leicestershire), the ther- 
mometer registered on the last day of February, 19° Fahr. below 
freezing point. — Gentlemen's Magazine, p. 194. There was much 

Europe. This frost was severe throughout Europe ; particularly in 

England. Long and severe frosts. 

„ Winter very severe ; Thames frozen. The Antiquarian 

Society of Newcastle recorded that the ice on the Tyne was 20 
inches thick. 

Russia. Very severe ; Napoleon at Moscow. 

When Louis XVIII was King, at Hartwell, his bill for coals on one 
Sunday when the Thames was frozen over in 1814 was 94Z. 1 8*. 6d. 
at 5*. per cwt. There was also " a power of beer and spirits " for 
the coalheavers. — Vide Addenda to theMdes Hartwelliance, by Vice- 
Admiral W. H. Smtthe. 

Ireland. Winter very severe. 

Canada. Frost at Quebec very severe. 

England. 7th January. A severe frost commenced this day — one 

of the most severe in modern times — and continued for a month. 

It was rendered more remarkable by the circumstance of its having 

been predicted in " Murphy's Almanack," which as a consequence 

became very popular. The doggrel of the period contained the 

following : — 

" Murphy hath a weather eye — 
He can tell whenever he pleases, 
Whether it will be wet or dry, 
t When it thaws, and when it freezes." 

Norway. Frost very severe. 

England. Very severe between 14th January and 24th February ; 
and very cold up to end of June. Fires on Serpentine in Hyde 
Park, and traffic established on ice in Lincolnshire. 

England. Very severe frost from 20th December to 5th January ; 
many of the less hardy shrubs destroyed. 

France. " The frost which scourged all the vineyards in France 
during the nights of the 24th, 25th, and 26th of April, when also 
snow and hail fell at intervals and often in abundance, has proved 
most fatal in Champagne. Now that the terrible consternation of 
first impressions has abated, and after having obtained as correct 
information as possible respecting those vineyards which I have not 
personally inspected, I am able to estimate without much danger of 
exaggeration the extent of the damage inflicted. The disaster is 
more severe and more general on the right than on the left bank 
of the Marne. Thus, on the right bank, Damery, Cumieres, Haut- 
villers, Dizy, Champillon, Ay, Mareuil, have been heavily stricken ; 
the loss in these rich vineyards, estimated at first at about four- 
fifths of the crop, is now considered to be about two-thirds. At 
and beyond Avenay the frost has caused less destruction, the loss at 
that place being one-third, while Bouzy and Ambounay have lost 
only one-fifth. The severity of the damage, however, is resumed at 
Hilly, which it is calculated has lost two-thirds j but Chigny and 
Ludes, more favoured, lose only one-half. But the rich slopes ot 


Walfobd — On the Famines of 




Table III.— The Great Frosts of History— Contd. 

France — Contd. 
Mailly and Vernzenay are damaged to the extent of five-sixths of 
the crop, the vineyards of Vernzenay being, moreover, infested with 
the pyrale, which, before the frost, had already destroyed the young 
buds to a considerable extent. I have no reliable estimate 
respecting Verzy, which has, however, been severely visited, As to 
the vineyards on the left bank of the Marne— -Epernay, Pierry 
Mousey, Vinay, St. Martin, have lost about two-thirds of their crop. 
The valley from Vertus to Avize has been more spared than any 
other part of Champagne. At Vertus the loss is reduced to one- 
fifth, at Le Mesnil to three-fifths, at Oger to one-fifth, at Avize to 
one-tenth, at Cuis to three-fifths. On the other side of the moun- 
tain of Avize, the slopes of Grauves, facing due south, have been 
completely devastated, and the vineyards of Mancy, Monthelon, 
Chavot, have been scarcely more spared. On the authority of the 
most trustworthy accounts from all quarters, it may fairly be 
reckoned that at present a proportion equal to two-thirds of the 
Champagne crop has been annihilated, and there are still before us 
all the dangerous contingencies of the five months which precede 
the vintage. This alarming situation, actual and possible, has 
given rise to considerable transactions. Wines in bottle, as well as 
wines in wood, have undergone very large advances in price, which, 
however, have not checked sales on the spot. The rare possessors 
of 1868's and 1870's in any considerable quantities, have now a 
fortune in their hands, and are in no hurry to part with their 
stocks." — Wine Trade Review, May, 1873. 

England. Severe frost in December. 

3. Drought. — In all climates of a tropical character, drought 
plays an important part in retarding the development of vege- 
tation. While combined with moisture, solar heat affords the most 
certain means of securing luxuriance ; without the moisture, you 
have a barren wilderness ! Our earliest biblical knowledge prepared 
our minds for this fact in the rising of the waters of the Nile, upon 
which event the fertility of Egypt depends. In our table of 
famines, a.d. 1064, we see what has happened, when events have 
not followed their natural course. 

Even in temperate climates like our own, long continued drought 
is very disastrous. Unfortunately again our meteorological records 
do not furnish systematic records. We have to seek our facts from 
fugitive sources. 

Mr. E. L. Lowe, F.R.S., of the Highfield Observatory, Not- 
tingham, says (" Notes and Queries," 5th series, viii, 507, 1877): — 

" Cycles of the seasons are as certain as the laws that govern the heavenly 
bodies, though we have not yet been able to fix their period. It is of atoms that 
the universe was made, so it will be the combined work of many that will enable 
us to arrive at those meteorological truths which it is so desirable to discover, and 
which may (when once discovered) prove of so great and lasting a benefit to man- 

It has been generally remarked that the periods of the visitations 
of comets are marked by the prevalence of drought. Regarding 
this point I shall speak under another head. 






300 to 336 


















1021 or 22 














the World : Past and Present. 
Table IV. — Periods of Excessive Drought and Heat 






Whole world. It is supposed that a great and general drought 
about this period gave rise to the fable of Phcethon setting fire to 
the world. 

Italy. Several severe droughts are followed by plague. 

Wales. Great drought after comet. 

Cyprus. Thirty-six years' drought ; expelled all the inhabitants. 

"England. " A prodigious drought." 

„ Drought, and then famine. 

Britain. Drought after a comet. 
Eastern Europe. Phrygia, Galatia, Cappadocia, &c, great drought, 

then famine, then plague. 
England. Drought, July to September : Famine. 
Scotland. Drought after comet. 
Africa. Terrible. 
England. Drought, with scorching heat. 

„ For three years. 

Britain. Great, with scarcity. 
Great, with scarcity. 
Great, with an earthquake. 
" Long and terrible, with heat." — Shoet. 
After a long and severe frost. 
Great drought. 
Ireland. Great drought. 

England. Drought and excessive heat, after great frost. 
Italy and Germany. With famine. 
England. Great drought, with heat, both years. 

„ Excessive heat, " yet marbles sweat profusely." — Shobt. 

Egypt. The drought which caused the failure of the rising of the 

Nile for seven years, and hence the second seven years' famine. 
England. With excessive heat. 

„ " So hot that corn, and some forests of wood, took fire." 

— Shobt. 
"England. All three spring months dry, and excessive heat. — Shobt. 

„ Greatest and hottest. 

France and England. Great drought. 

England. " General, with great heat : hence famine." — Shobt. 
„ All harvest and long after. 

„ Winter dry and warmest to 1st April, then coldest to 15th 

May. — Shobt. 
England. Dry and hot, harvest early and good. — Shobt. 

„ " 13th March to harvest, neither rain nor dew. First, 

cold nights : frost, northerly winds ; then greatest heat and dry, 
flies, gnats." — Shobt. 
England. Great drought. 

„ " Greatest drought all spring and summer ; harvest, great 

rains j in October, and long after, drought again." — Shobt. 
England. Drought in summer, and great plenty. 

„ " No rain all the year to August j then moderate showers 

only ; oats and barley lost. — Shobt. 
England. " Sudden great darkness, then such drought and heat as 

killed most grain."--SHOBT. 
England. Heat and drought so intense as killed many; great 

deaths; plenty. 
England. Drought all summer. 
India. Great drought. 
England. " Very great." 

" Greatest, with heat." 

After floods, storms, meteors, &c. 





48 Walford— On the Famines of 

Table IV. —Periods of Excessive Drought and Beat — Contd. 



























































Italy. Drought. 

England, Drought and heat. 

" Very grievous in summer." 

Excessive, with heat. 
India. Great drought on the Ganges-Jumna Delta. 
England. Great drought and heat after the two comets of 1472. 

Drought, with great heat ; caused plague. 

" Very great." 

Great drought in summer. 

Excessive heat. 

Hot and dry. 

Drought from 1st February to 12th April, and all July 
and August. 
England. Great heat and drought. 

Drought whole year, and hot. 

All summer and harvest. 

Excessive hot, with dearth of cattle. 

Excessive hot and dry summer. — Shoet. 

Drought all the year, and heat. 

Extreme drought ; want of water. • 

Great drought, with flies, gnats, &c. 
„ April and May cold and dry; June and July dry and 

Russia. Great drought. 
England. Harvest and winter dry and cold ; north winds. 

Both summers dry and hot. 

" Excessive hot and dry ; harvest inconstant." — Shoet. 

1st January to 1st May, north wind ; dry and cold. 

" Summer excessive hot and droughty." — Shoet. 

The same. 
Great drought ; and throughout Asia. 
England. Summer and harvest dry and hot. 

Summer and harvest dry and hot j wind south or west. 

Hot and dry. 

Excessive hot dry summer. 

Scorching hot summer and dry years. — Shoet. 

Scorching hot and dry. 
Great drought in the Punjaub. 
England. Hot and dry ; east winds ; Great Fire of London. 

All the year dry. 

" All dry, hot, and clear." 

Dry hot summer. 

Dry all spring and summer. 

Spring dry and cold j summer very hot and dry. 
Italy. A great drought. 
Hot and dry. 
Hot and dry. 
Britain. Harvest hot and dry j drought till following January. 
England. Hottest and driest summer known for twenty years. 

Very dry till end of August. 

Excessive dry till end of August. 

Little rain, but rich dews. 
„ Cold and dry after February. 

India. Province of Sind. No rainfall for two years. — Danvebs. 
„ In the north-west provinces of the Punjaub, no rain for two 
years. — Danvebs. 
India. Great drought in district of Baroda, and in some adjoining 

districts, resulting in severe famine. 
England. No rain fell for seventy-four days, when on Tuesday 
morning, 19th August, "a glorious rain came down." 












the World : Past and Present 


Table IV. — Periods of Excessive Drought and Heat — Contd. 






f 66 








India. A total failure of rain in the " ceded districts " of Allahabad. 
" Not a shower fell after the 12th August, 1803, and in September 
hot winds were blowing just as in May or June, and scorched up 
the crops. The winter rains also failed. This drought was followed 
by heavy hailstorms early in 1804." — Danvebs, 1877. 

India. Severe drought in the Delhi, and some other districts. 
Severe drought in some of the north-west provinces. 
Severe drought in parts of north-west provinces. 
Severe drought in parts of the Punjaub and north-west 

Cape Colony. Disastrous drought. 

India. Severe drought in Orissa and parts of Madras. 

Severe drought in Behar and parts of Northern Bengal. 
Severe drought in Madras, Mysore, and parts of Bombay. 

Australia. The intensity of the late drought in Australia may be 
judged, perhaps, by the simple calculation made by the inspector of 
stock, that in New South Wales alone 4 million sheep were lost last 
year from the effects of the dry weather. This estimate is 
generally admitted not to indicate the full extent of the losses, as 
it omits to take account of the last six weeks of the drought, which 
extended into the middle of February of this year, during which 
time the effects of the lack of rain were daily intensifying in 
increasing ratio. At least another million must be added to those 
figures to account for the losses of this year and for the loss 
suffered by small holders and others who were for various reasons 
omitted from the returns. Thus we have 5 million sheep, valued at 
2,500,000?. at least, destroyed, directly or indirectly, through the 
lack of pasturage consequent on the drought. In 1876 the 
Australian Colonies possessed between them over 45 million sheep, 
of which 20 millions belonged to New South Wales. There is 
reason to believe that in Victoria and South Australia the effects of 
the drought were quite as disastrous as in New South Wales, while 
in Queensland they were doubly severe. It is not, therefore, too 
much to estimate that at least the same proportion of the flocks 
elsewhere were destroyed as in New South Wales, and that in 
Australia alone, omitting Tasmania and New Zealand, 9 million 
sheep perished in a single summer. If we extend our view to 
Cape Colony, which, with the whole of South Africa, endured a 
similar calamity, we shall find that over 10 million sheep must 
have succumbed to the drought of 1877-78, or nearly one-third of 
the number of sheep supported by the whole of the United 
Kingdom. — The Colonies and India. 

Another account speaks of the expected failure of the grain crops, 
and adds, " The kangaroos and wallaby proved so numerous that 
they alone consumed all that was left green. Water was carted in 
many cases from 10 to 12 miles." 

Cape Colony. Intelligence from the interior of Cape Colony and the 
Orange Free State represents the country as having suffered most 
severely from the effects of the prolonged drought. Galekas and 
Gaikas combined are declared to be incapable at their worst of 
inflicting a tenth part of the injury on the country which has been 
caused by the lack of rain. Not only are the cattle and horses 
described as becoming daily more attenuated, and dying from the 
want of food and water, but human beings have succumbed to 
starvation, and numbers of farmers have "trekked" — deserted 
their lands and homes in search of food for themselves and their 
flocks. The failure of crops threatened, at last advices, a disastrous 
famine unless rain speedily fell in abundance. Near the coast the 
drought gave signs of breaking two months ago, but in the interior 
the roads were like iron, dams were dried up, springs were failing 


Walford — On the Famines of 





Table IV. — Periods of Excessive Brought and Heat — Contd, 
Cape Colony — Contd. 
and not a cloud was to be seen in the sky. Of the fruit crops the 
grapes alone had been saved. Such a state of affairs has not been 
known since 1862, when a disastrous but less extensive drought 
occurred. The necessity for works for storing water and for irriga- 
tion purposes has been more than ever impressed on the colonists 
by the serious check which is thus placed on all commercial 
enterprise throughout the country. The Act passed last year for 
encouraging irrigation works will tend to the gradual relief, by 
artificial means, of the natural drawbacks of the country which, in 
this respect, resembles India or Egypt, being dependent on the 
periodical rains, and consequent floods, for the production of its 
wonderfully fertile soil. April. 
Barbary. Advices from the coast of Barbary received [May] at 
Gibraltar, give a gloomy picture of the state of affairs in the town 
of Casablanca, owing to the drought. Starvation is staring the 
native tribes of Bedouins in the interior in the face. Their fields 
are completely parched, and they are in great distress for want of 
employment. Graining their subsistence by tilling the ground and 
gathering in the crops whenever chance offered, these poor Bedouins, 
who vied with each other in assisting their brethren of the Riff coast 
last year, are now as badly, if not worse, off than they were. The 
want of the rain which would enable them to raise fodder causes 
the holders of cattle to bring them into the town to be disposed of 
as best they can at any sacrifice. On the 10th bullocks were being 
offered at $4 and $5 each and sheep at 8 rvn., and on the 15th thirty 
cows were sold for the paltry sum of six pesetas each, and the 
sheep at 5 vrn. Many head of cattle in a lean condition remained 
unsold for want of buyers, though offered at half the above price. 
Grain is reported to be very scarce, and the little that is to be seen 
in the market is very dear. Bice and flour are being imported from 
England and France, but up to the present in small quantities. 
The province of Mogador is in a frightful state of misery owing to 
the want of rain. People, especially the Hebrews, flock into the 
town seeking the necessities of life from the charitable. At 
Tangiers some late showers have done much good by refreshing the 
fields for the benefit of the cattle. 
United States. July. For eleven days past the weather in the Missis- 
sippi Valley and in the North-Western States has been excessively 
hot, the temperature averaging from 90° to 102° in the shade, in 
some places reaching even 110°. In St. Louis during this period 
1,500 persons have been affected by the heat, of whom 150 have 
died. Most kinds of public work and business generally were 
suspended during the first half of the present week or. done at 
night. The letter-carrier service wa3 also interrupted during the 
middle of the day. In many parts of Southern Missouri and 
Kansas the harvesting has been done by moonlight. At Fort Dodge, 
Iowa, the thermometer last Tuesday, at sunset, registered 101°, and 
in Milwaukee on Wednesday it ranged from 90° to 100° in the shade. 
One hundred and three cases of sunstroke were reported in Chicago 
on Wednesday, of which thirty -one resulted in death. The same 
day, throughout the Province of Ontario, in Canada, the thermo- 
meter ranged from 90° to 103° in the shade. The hot wave moved 
slowly eastward, and at Wheeling, West Virginia, the thermometer 
showed 101° in the shade. On Thursday, in the cities on the 
Atlantic coast the temperature ranged from 88° to 98° in the shade. 
A cool wave from the north setting in after the torrid one reached 
Chicago on Thursday morning. 
Note to this table. — Since the termination of Short's observations with the 

first quarter of the last century, we find no reliable records as to droughts in the 

United Kingdom. 

the World : Past and Present 51 

While npon the subject of drought, it is impossible to ignore 
one of its principal causes, viz., the denuding the surface of the 
country of its forest trees. The rainfall in Britain has no doubt 
over a period of several centuries been gradually reduced in this 
manner, to the great benefit of the country generally. But when 
we turn to tropical countries, while the same result of diminished 
rainfall is produced, it cannot be added that any benefit is conferred. 
In a recent State paper relating to southern India, I have seen it 
stated that much mischief is there resulting from this cause. The 
railways of India have required the timber as fuel for their engines. 
Is it not alike in the interest of the Government and the railway 
companies there, that steps be taken for planting forest trees in 
suitable localities ? and there are plenty such available. For 
another reason in favour of planting, see Table of Floods, 1872. 

In another able State paper relating to India, and referred to 
more particularly hereafter, I note the following passage : — 

" By proper attention to the replanting of forest trees at the sources of rivers, 
and by the other planting recommended, wherever it can be carried out, the first 
step will have been taken towards restoring the climate of India to its former 
state ; regulating the rainfall of the country, rendering the minor rivers, which 
now often run dry, perennial, and putting an end to, or at least lessening the 
violence of the floods, which too often do great damage to crops growing in the 
vicinity of rivers, cause tanks to overflow, and burst their embankments, carry 
away railway bridges ; render river navigation absolutely impossible during their 
continuance, and otherwise cause loss and destruction, without any compensating 
advantages whatever. As soon as the drainage of the country is thus brought 
under proper control, it will no doubt be perfectly practicable to construct 
irrigation works in many parts where, either from the absence or want of 
continuous supply of water, they could not at present be introduced. The digging 
ditches and planting trees beside them is also recommended, and have the joint 
advantages of at once affording shade and collecting moisture." 

In this connection it may be added that the French Forest 
Department in the Hautes and Basses Alpes are carrying out 
extensive planting operations to replace the forests formerly 
destroyed : — 


So great indeed were the devastations from which these Alpine districts 
suffered through the demolition of the mountain sides, and the consequent forma- 
tion of torrents, that intervention of the most prompt description became necessary 
to prevent the destruction not only of the grazing grounds themselves, but of the 
rich valleys below them." 

The replanting of these mountains has now been going on for 
some time : — 

" Already the beneficial effect of what has been done is felt in the diminution 
of the violence of the torrents . . . During the present summer (1875), where so 
much mischief has been done in the south of France by inundations, the Durance, 
which rises in the mountains east of Avignon, and which on former occasions has 
been the worst and most dangerous of all the rivers in the south of France, on 
account of the inundations it has caused, has scarcely been heard of; and it is 
around the head waters of this river that the chief plantation works have, duxvu^ 

52 Walford— On the Famines of 

the last ten years, been carried on.'* — {Extract from Proceedings of Forest Con- 
ference held at Simla, October, 1875.) 

It is seen here, as in many other instances, that any rash 
interference with the economy of nature is attended with disastrous 
results, not only in one direction, but in several. By the skilful 
management of the forests, it seems clear that the rainfall of a 
country may be at once regulated and controlled. 

" The Japanese Government, which is making such rapid strides towards 
modern civilisation, has just awakened to the necessity of preserving its forests, 
and stringent regulations have been passed, which shall not only hinder the too 
rapid destruction Of the forests, but increase the area covered by woodlands."— 

4. Other Meteorological Phenomena. — Under this head I pro- 
pose to include comets, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, violent storms 
generally, and hailstorms. These latter are usually local in their 
effects, rarely extending beyond 6o miles in their greatest length, 
and some 6 miles in width, and generally are confined to much 
smaller limits. They are most destructive to grain and fruit pro- 
ducts of all kinds, when they occur in severe form. 

Comets are usually associated, if not with absolute drought, 
certainly with seasons of excessive heat; but in temperate zones, 
this excessive heat is not necessarily productive of deficient grain 
crops, while the fruit crops, and especially the vine, is frequently 
enhanced not only in quantity but in quality. 

Earthquakes would seem to have but little influence in producing 
famine, except in the immediate locality of their devastation. 
Where however they have produced irruption of the sea, which has 
been not unfrequently the case, the damage has sometimes been very 

Hurricanes and storms frequently produce widespread damage 
in the localities they visit. They also lead to irruptions of the sea, 
and to the overflow of rivers ; but as a rule these occur at periods 
of the year when the grain and other crops are either not sufficiently 
advanced to sustain serious damage, or have been harvested. 

Table V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, Hurricanes, and 
Violent Storms generally, Chronologically Arranged. 




Egypt. Among the plagues of Egypt assigned at this date, as set 
out in the Book of Exodus, chap, vii, viii, ix, and x, were : turning 
the river into blood ; frogs were sent ; and lice ; a murrain of 
beasts ; boils and blains ; hail ; locusts ; darkness. 

Arabia Petra. An earthquake accompanied by thunder and 
lightning occurred in Mount Sinai on the occasion of the delivery 
of the Law. — Exod. xix, 18. 

Italy. An earthquake in central Italy, which swallowed up a city 
and produced Lake Ciminus in its place. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table V.~ Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 














105 or 106 













"First Comet," supposed to have been discovered at this date by 

Nicephorus, and was accurately described by him. 
China. Earthquake in. 
Sparta. An earthquake in. 
Greece. An earthquake made Euboea an island. 

„ An earthquake swallowed up Helice and Bura in Pelopon- 

Rome. A chasm opens in the forum, into which Quintius Curtius 

voluntarily leaps. It afterwards formed a lake. 
Ghreece. Duras buried with all its inhabitants by earthquake ; and 

twelve cities in Campania also buried. 
Japan. A lake 72^ miles long by izfc wide formed in one night in 

the Island of Niphon. 
(?) Lysimachia and its inhabitants buried about this date by earth- 
Rhodes. The Colossus overthrown by an earthquake. Eusebius 

dates this catastrophe in B.C. 105. 
At the birth of Mithridates two large comets appeared, which were 

seen for seventy-two days together, whose splendour eclipsed that 

of the mid-day sun, and occupied about a fourth part of the 

Palestine. An earthquake in which 30,000 people perish. 

Asia Minor. Ephesus and other cities overturned by an earthquake. 
Palestine and Bythnia. On the occasion of the Crucifixion, the 

city of Nicsea was destroyed. 
Naples. An earthquake accompanied the eruption of Vesuvius 

when Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried. 
Eastern "Europe and Asia. Four cities in Asia, two in Greece and 

two in G-alatia overturned by an earthquake. 
Antioch (Syria) destroyed by an earthquake. 

Asia Minor. Nicomedia, Csesarea, and Nicea overturned by earth- 
England. Hailstorm ; stones 1 2 inches " about," fatal to people and 

Macedonia. Earthquake damaging 150 cities and towns; in Asia, 

the city of Pontus and other places destroyed. 
England. Hail, "bigger than ducks' eggs." 
Italy > Asia Minor, fyc. An earthquake attended by eclipse of the 

sun and inundations of the sea. 
Britain. Hail ; each stone one pound or above in weight. 
England. Hail ; " stones like goose eggs ; fatal to people and 

England. Hailstorm ; " stones much bigger than hens' eggs." 
Asia Minor. Nicomedia again demolished by earthquake, and the 

inhabitants buried in the ruins; and 150 other cities more or less 

Bithynia. The city of Nicomedia is destroyed by earthquake. 
Roman Empire. An earthquake. 
Britain. Hail in many parts of the country ; stones 3 inches in 

diameter. " Killed many men and much cattle." 
Sparta. An earthquake. 
Asiatic Turkey. The cities of Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Tripoli nearly 

destroyed by earthquake. 
China. Earthquake in. 

Antioch. Again reduced to ruins by an earthquake. 
An earthquake, the effects of which are believed to have been felt 

over nearly the whole world. 
Scotland. Hail, " like pullets' eggs." 
Bey rout. Destroyed by an earthquake. 


Walford— 0w the Farrvmes of 

Table V.— Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, dbc.- - Contd. 
























Constantinople. A groat many of the principal edifices destroyed, 

and thousand* of inhabitants perished by earthquake. 
Asia and Egypt. Many cities overturned by earthquake. 
P " Fiery hail burnt the ships, the sea boiling up." — Shoet. 

[? Volcanic scoria?.] 
Syria, Palestine, and Asia generally. Tremendous earthquake; 

more than 500 towns destroyed, and the loss of life surpassed 

all calculation. 
Italy. Earthquake at Trivisa ; many lives lost. 
Alexandria. An earthquake which overthrew the Pharos. 
France, Germany, and Italy. Serious earthquake. 
South Wales, frail ; each stone like hen's egg. 
Syria. Upwards of 1,500 houses overturned by earthquake in 

Antioch. Other towns suffer considerably. 
India. An earthquake destroys 180,000 lives. 
York. Hail ; stones like ducks' eggs. 

Greece shaken. Constantinople overthrown by earthquake. [? 986.] 
England. Great storm raged in and near London, which destroyed 

1,500 houses. 
Asiatic Turkey. Dcinar overthrown by earthquake, and 10,000 people 

buried in the ruins. 
Asiatic Turkey. Half of Damascus destroyed by earthquake. 
Persia. Tabriz is reduced to ruins, and 50,000 of the inhabitants 

destroyed by earthquake. 
England. Earthquake felt at Worcester, Derby, and other parts of 

England. " In the 15th year [of William the Conqueror] a great 

earthquake happened in the month of April ; strange for the 

strong trembling of the earth, but more strange for the doleful 

and hideous roaring which it yielded forthe." — JIarleian Mis- 
cellany iii, p. 167. 
England. Earthquake shocks felt generally. 

„ In several parts of the country. Great hurricane from the 

south-west. In London about 500 houses destroyed. 6th October. 
Syria. Antioch, Aleppo, Jerusalem, and many towns destroyed by 

Sicily. Catania overturned by earthquake; 15,000 persons buried in 

Persia. The city of Gansana destroyed by earthquake, and 10,000 

of the inhabitants buried in the ruins. 
England. Earthquake severely felt at Lincoln. 
Syria. Much destruction by earthquake ; 20,000 people killed. 
Sicily and Calabria. An earthquake committed great devastation and 

killed some 15,000 ]>ooplo. 
England. JJail, with thunder, lightning, hurricane. 5th Juno. 
Calabria. One of its cities and all inhabitants overwhelmed by 

earthquake, and engulfed in Adriatic Nea. September. 
England. Hail, with thunder and lightning. 

„ Hail like ducks' eggs; with thunder and lightning. 

Much grain in fields destroyed. 
Italy. Hail like goose eggs. 
English C/iannel. Great hurricane off the coast of Calais. A 

number of the Norman nobility on their way to assist King John 

against the barons were wrecked. 
France. At Franche Comtek a mountain opened and engulphed 

pome 5,000 persons. 
England. Great tempests of wind, with rain and thunder for 

fifteen consecutive days. 
A grand comet was seen ; its tail was considered to extend 100°. 

(See 1556.) 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, dbc. — Contd. 

















Cilicia (Asia Minor). Tremendous earthquake ; over 60,000 people 

England. Earthquake felt throughout ; Glastonbury destroyed. 
„ Great storm, " with violent lightnings." 

„ The most severe earthquake experienced. 14th November. 

A remarkable comet seen in England. — Stow. 

Italy. An earthquake at Borgo-Sansepolero, and 2,000 people 

France. " When Edward III was on his march, within two leagues 
of Chartres, there happened a storm of piercing wind, that swelled 
to a tempest of rain, lightning and hailstones so prodigious, as 
instantly to kill 6,000 of his horses and 1,000 of his best troops." — 
Old Chronicle. 

English Channel. Great storm, which destroyed the ships from 
which Richard II's queen had just landed (from Bohemia) and 
many others. January. (See 1396.) 

English Channel. Another great storm, on the occasion of the second 
Queen of Richard II landing. — Holingshed. 

Note. — "When Richard II's first wife came [to England in 1382] 
from Bohemia, she had no sooner set foot on shore, but such a 
storm immediately arose as has not been seen for many years, 
when several ships were dashed to pieces in the harbour, and the 
ship in which the Queen came was shattered and broken; and 
which was the more noticeable because his second wife brought a 
storm with her to the English Coast, in which the King's baggage 
was lost, and many ships of the Fleet cast away." — Old Chronicle. 

A comet appeared, and reappearing in 1682, as Hulley, the astronomer 
royal, had predicted, became known as Halley's comet. (See 1682.) 

Naples. Great earthquake ; 40,000 people perished. 5th December. 

St. Neots (Huntingdon). Hailstorm, "when the stones measured 
18 inches round." 

Grecian Archipelago. Earthquake at Cos ; 5,000 persons perish. 

India. Great earthquake in Agra. Every lofty building was levelled 
with the ground, and some thousands of people were buried in the 

India. Dreadful earthquake at Cabul, which laid most of the city 
in ruins. — Dow's Hindustan. 

Constantinople. Earthquake, "thousands perished," 1,700 houses 
overthrown. 14th September. 

Italy. A hailstorm " which destroyed all the fish, birds, and beasts 
of the country." 

Rome. Great hailstorm. 2nd December. 

Ausburg. Great hailstorm. 19th July. 

England. Great hailstorm. 16th December. 

Lisbon. 1,500 houses destroyed by earthquakes, and about 30,000 
inhabitants buried in ruins. Several neighbouring towns en- 
gulphed. 26th February. (See 1755.) Also felt in Spain. 

Zurich. Great hailstorm. 15th July. 

Rome. Great hailstorm. 12th December. 

Mechlin. Great hailstorm. August. 

Louvain. Great hailstorm. 5th September. 

London. Great hailstorm. 1st September. 

The comet of 1264 was supposed to have reappeared, but with dimi- 
nished splendour. 

Note. — Tycho Brahe demonstrated that comets are extraneous to our 
atmosphere, 1557. 

Cattaro. Suffered from earthquake. 

Northamptonshire. Hailstorm, " when the stones measured 1 5 inches 
in circumference." 

Louvain. Great hailstorm. 24th January. 


Walfoed — On the Famines of 

Table V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, Ac. — Contd. 



. '80 

















Essex. Great hailstorm. 17th July. 

Chelmrford (Essex). Hailstorm destroyed 500 acres of grain. 

England. Great hailstorm. 26th December. 

Brazil. Great hailstorm. 7th April. 

London. Earthquake; part of St. Paul's and the Temple Church 

fell. 6th April. Also felt in France and Belgium. 
England. Great hailstorm, " stones 8 or 9 inches about." 
London. Fresh hailstorms. 18th February ; 1st August. 
England. Hail, with thunder and snow. September. 
Japan. Several cities destroyed by earthquake, and thousands of the 

inhabitants perished. 2nd July. 
WeUs. Groat hailstorm. December. 
Jamaica. Port Royal nearly destroyed by earthquake. 
Azoris. An island more than a league and a half long raised near 

St. Michael. 
England. Great hailstorms, 29th March. 25th to 30th April. 
Naples. Earthquake destroyed thirty towns and villages: 70,000 

lives lost. 30th July. 
Manila. Earthquake in. 

England. Hail, with rain, snow and thunder. 30th January. 
Calabria (Naples). "Awful earthquake." 180 towns and villages 

England. Hailstorms, 25th June ; 14th and 19th August, with rain. 
„ Hailstorm with rain. 3rd July. 

„ Hailstorms: 4th May; 11th and 12th July; 17th 

Leicester. Hailstorm. 29th April. 
Dorchester. Hailstorm; stones 7 inches in circumference. 23rd 

Europe. ** The day that Oliver Cromwell died (3rd September) was 

one [a storm] so violent and terrible that it extended all over 

Europe.' 1 — Mortimer. 
England. Hailstorms. 11th April and 11th October. 
London. Great hailstorm at Charing Cross. January. 
England. Severe hailstorm and rain. 31st July. 
JRagusa. City ruined by earthquake, 5,000 persons perished. 6th 

SchamaJci (Southern Russia). Earthquake shocks extending over 

three months ; 80,000 people perished. 
England. Great hailstorm with rain. 17th December. 
Rimini (Italy). Earthquake; 1,500 perished. 14th April. 
England. Great hailstorm. 18th January. 
A comet which terrified the people by its supposed near approach to 

the earth ; was visible from 3rd November to 9th of Marcn follow- 
ing. From observations on this comet, Newton demonstrated that 

they are subject to the law of gravitation, and probably move in 

elliptic orbits. 
England. Great hailstorm. 1st May. 
Halley's comet, so-called from his having made observations sufficient 

to establish its identity. He predicted its return in 1759, and it 

came. The revolution of this comet is supposed to occupy seventy - 

five years. It reappeared in 1835, and is due again in 1910. 
Dublin. Severe shock of earthquake. 17th October. 
Jamaica. Earthquake destroyed Port Royal, whose houses were 

engulphed 40 fathoms deep ; 3,000 perished. 7th June. 
Sicily. Earthquake overturned 54 cities and towns, and 300 villages. 

Of Catania and its 1 8,000 inhabitants not a trace remained ; more 

than 100,000 lives lost. September. 
England. Great storm on the east coast ; 200 coasters and other 

vessels, and most of their crews, lost. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 



















Cheshire and Lancashire. "A storm of hail, &c., which killed fowls 
and small animals, and knocked down horses and oxen j some of the 
stones weighing half a pound." 29th April. 

Hertfordshire. Hailstones fell 1 4 inches in circumference ; destroyed 
trees and corn in a most dreadful manner ; the most terrible one 
that had ever been known in England ; attended with flashes of 
lightning. 4th May. 

Italy. Aquila ruined by earthquake ; 5,000 perished. 2nd February. 

Japan. Jeddo ruined by earthquake ; zoo,ooo perished. 

England. One of the most terrible storms on record ; known as the 
" Great Storm." The devastation on land was immense, while on 
the coasts and in the harbours the loss of shipping was terrible. 
The loss of life was very large, and sheep and cattle were drowned 
by thousands from the floods occasioned, especially in the Severn 
and Thames valleys. The loss of property in London was estimated 
at 2,ooo,ooo£. Eddystone lighthouse was destroyed and its 
constructor (Winstanley) in it. On the coast of Holland great 
damage was done. 26th and 27th November. 

Abruzzo (Naples). Earthquake; 15,000 persons perished. 3rd 

Algiers. Earthquakes ; 20,000 perished. May and June. 

Sweden. Great snowstorm, wherein 7,000 Swedes, on their way to 
attack Drontheim, perished on the mountains. 

India. On 20th June a fearful earthquake was felt in Old Delhi. 
During the day and night nine shocks occurred. Farts of the 
ramparts were thrown down and damaged, and many persons 
killed. " It was very wonderful that for a month and two days the 
shocks continued, and were felt four or five times in the twenty- 
four hours." — Sib H. Elliot's History of India, vii. 

Palermo. City nearly destroyed by earthquake; 6,000 lives lost. 
1st September. 

Persia. Tabriz overwhelmed by earthquake ; 77,000 persons perish. 

China. Pekin destroyed by earthquake; about 100,000 people 
swallowed up. 30th November. 

Naples. Great destruction by earthquake ; 1,940 persons perished, 
29th November. 

India. Great storm. " Many hundreds of vessels cast away ;" a 
fleet of Indiamen greatly damaged. Some 30,000 persons are 
believed to have perished. 11th October. 

Yorkshire. Hailstorm ; stones 5 inches round. May. 

South America. Lima and Callao demolished by earthquake ; 18,000 
persons buried in the ruins. 28th October. 

London. Slight shock of earthquake. 19th February. 

Ionian Islands. At Cerigo 2,000 persons perish by earthquake. 

St. Domingo. Port-au-Prince destroyed by earthquake. 21st 

Turkey. Adrianople nearly overwhelmed by earthquake. 29th July. 

Egypt. Grand Cairo half destroyed by earthquake ; about 40,000 of 
the inhabitants engulphed. September. 

Egypt. The city of Grand Cairo completely destroyed by earthquake. 

Kaschan (N. Persia) destroyed by earthquake; 40,000 perished. 
7th June. 

Lisbon. The great earthquake of. In about eight minutes most of 
the houses and 50,000 of the inhabitants were swallowed up. 

The cities of Coimbra, Oporto, and Braga (also in Portugal) suffered 
dreadfully, and St. Nebes was wholly overthrown. 

In Spain a large part of Malaga became ruins. 

In Morocco one half of the city of Fez was destroyed, and 12,000 
Arabs perished. 


Walpord — On the Famines of 

Table V. — Comets, Cyclo7ies, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 
















Madeira. About half the island became waste. 

In the Island of Metelene, in the Archipelago, about 2,000 houses 
were overthrown. 

This earthquake was felt as far as 5,000 miles away, and was dis- 
tinctly experienced in Scotland. 1st November. 

Syria. Shock of earthquake extended over 10,000 square miles. 
Baalbec destroyed, and in this city 20,000 perished. 30th October. 

Hungary. Oomorn, Pesth, &c, much damaged by earthquake, 
28th June [? 1763]. 

England. 15th February. Great snow storm in Nottinghamshire, 
which lasted fifty hours. In other parts of England rain storms, 
which froze upon the trees, and caused great destruction of timber ; 
the immense weight breaking off the largest arms and branches. 

England. Earthquake shock in Glamorganshire. 

„ " The snow was so deep throughout the whole kingdom 

that the like has not been remembered by the oldest man living ; 
many people have perished ; cattle and horses have been buried 
and dug out ; the stage waggons have been delayed ; the postboys 
have been bewildered, and some frozen to death ; in short the 
severity of the season is universally felt ; and the distresses of the 
poor in many places are inexpressible." — Gentleman's Magazine, 

France. 8th April. A dreadful storm of thunder and lightning did 
considerable damage at Provence. The lightning set fire to the 
Royal Abbey of St. James's, by which one of the main beams in the 
steeple was burnt, so as to give way in the angle. Two other 
churches were set on fire in the neighbourhood ; the bells of one 
melted, and the other was entirely" consumed. 

Martinico. Damaged by earthquake j 1,600 perished. August. 

Havannah. Dreadful hurricane ; 4,048 houses and many public 
edifices destroyed. About i,oco inhabitants perished. 25th 

England. " Last month [April] we had such a series of cold turbu- 
lent weather, such a constant succession of frost and snow, and hail, 
and tempest, that the regular migration or appearance of the sum- 
mer birds was much interrupted." — White's Selborne. 

An Historical Narrative of trie Great and' Tremendous Storm which 
happened on 26th November, 1703. [This forms part of vol. ii of 
" City Remembrances," published this year.] 

A most brilliant comet appeared, and was calculated to pass within 
2 millions of miles of the earth. This comet was seen in London ; 
it was moving with immense velocity, and its tail formed a luminous 
arch in the heavens, supposed to bo 36,000,000 miles in length. 

Leeds (Yorkshire). Hailstones as largo as nutmegs. 20th June. 

St. Jago (Cuba). Hailstones as largo as oranges. 16th July. 

" A violent gale of wind (22nd February), made liavock among 
the shipping in the British Channel. It is more than twenty years 
since the like happened in this island." — Gentleman's Magazine. 

26th February. It blew a hurricane in London, by which the ship- 
ping in the Thamos is said to have sustained damage to the amount 
of 50,000/. — Ibid. 

Guatemala. Santiago witli its inhabitants swallowed up by earth- 
quake. 7th Juno. 

Mencon (France). Hailstorm; stones measured 18 inches round. 
8rd August. 

England. Awful storm in North of England ; many vessels destroyed ; 
four Dublin packets lost. 29th October. 

Holland, Antwerp, &c. Hailstorm ; stones as large as hen's eggs, 
and weighed throo-quartcrs of a nound ; horses killed, and the 
fruits of the earth destroyed, lit n June. 

the World : Tost and Present 


Tablr V. — Comets, Cyclones, Eartkqiuikes, Hailstorms, Sc. — Contd, 


















Smyrna. Destructive earthquake. 3rd July. 

Tabriz (Persia). Earthquake ; 15,000 houses thrown down, and 
multitudes of people buried. 

India. Great storm at Surat; about 7,000 inhabitants destroyed. 
22nd April. 

Surat. " At Surat, a Dutch settlement lately taken by the English, 
a most dreadful hurricane arose, which carried all before it ; neither 
man, horses, nor sheep could be saved. The storm began from the 
S.E. and ended N.W. with the same fury. The whirlwind swept 
into the sea more than 3,000 inhabitants, who in the first moments 
had taken refuge between Surat and Domus." — Gentleman's 
Magazine, January, 1783. 

France. Hailstorm ; stones weighed 8 ozs. 17th June. 

Madrid. A violent hailstorm. " Some of the stones weighed a 
pound." 6,oooZ. of damage to windows. 

Italy and Sicily. Messina and other towns thrown down by earth- 
quake. " Thousands perished." 5th February. . 

Spain. 23rd December and seven days following. Dreadful storms, 
accompanied by rains, " so excessive as to create impassable inunda- 
tions, so that many villages and part of the flat countries have been 
reduced to the greatest distress." Floods particularly severe at 
Seville. Great number of shipwrecks on coast. 

England. Great storm of thunder and lightning in Hants and 
Wilts (25th November) j also about this period great storms of wind 
and rain of " remarkable violence." 

England. January and February. Great snow storms, especially in 
northern York, and in parts of the midland counties. Barnard 
Castle and Northampton suffered severely. These storms were 
accompanied with intense frost. 

Scotland. Excessive falls of snow extending over nearly a month daily. 

France. 17th January. A violent storm at Eochelle, accompanied 
by an earthquake, thunder, lightning and hail ; great damage done 
to houses and trees. The towns of Nantes and Rochefort much 
injured ; and many ships lost on the coasts. 

Europe. Storms and excessive cold were reported from Smyrna, 
Vienna , Nimeguen, Cologne, Naples (great floods), Leghorn, Rome, 
Lisbon, Amsterdam. 

Pyrenees. Hailstorm ; stones as large as hen's eggs, some weighing 
23 ounces. 18th July. 

Armenia. Exinghian (near Erzeroum) destroyed, and 5,000 buried 
in ruins by earthquake. 23rd July. 

Paris. Severe hailstorm. 1st July. 

France. Storm. "131 villages and farms laid waste." 

Italy. Hailstones as big as hen's eggs. 17th July. 

North Shields. Great hailstorm. 16th August. 

Normandy. Hailstones as big as hen's eggs. 4th August. 

France. "Hail fell as large as a quart bottle; and all the trees 
from Vallence to Lisle were torn up or destroyed." 13th July. 

West Indies. St. Lucia destroyed by earthquake ; 900 perished. 
12th October, 

Tuscany. At Borgo di San Sepolero, an earthquake. Many houses 
and 1,000 persons swallowed up. 30th September. 

Italy. A violent hailstorm. June. 

England. Several violent hailstorms. June. 

Calabria (Naples) . Violent hailstorm ; stones weighed one English 
pound ; destroyed the vintage. September. 

Sussex. Severe hailstorm. October. 

Thornton (Leicestershire). Hailstorm ; great damage. 3rd August. 

Japan. 1st April. Earthquake near the volcano flligigama (which 
threw forth torrents of water), destroyed 53,000 persons. 


"Walford— On the Famines of 

Table V. — Cornets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 



















Jamaica. Hailstones as large as pigeon's eggs. 2nd July. 

South America. The whole country between Santa F6* and Panama 

desolated by an earthquake. The cities of Cuzco and Quito 

destroyed, and 40,000 people buried, in what appeared but one 

second of time. 4th February. 
Naples. Vesuvius overwhelmed the city of Torre del Greco. June. 
Britain. Great storm prevailed throughout ; several hundred sail 

of shipping destroyed. 6th October. 
Essex and Herts. A storm of hail which did great damage. 12th 

Asia Minor. Earthquake ; 1,500 lives lost. 
Peru. Quite overthrown by earthquake, burying 40,000 persons. 

4th February. 
London. Hailstorm ; did great damage to the gardens round the 

Metropolis. 6th May. 
Lewes (Sussex). Severe and destructive hailstorm. 6th May. 
„ Another hailstorm; stones weighed from 4 to 7 ounces. 

5th June. 
Cumana (South America). Ruined by earthquake. 14th December. 
Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire. Hailstorm at Heyford (Oxen) ; 

irregular pieces of ice the size of hen's eggs fell. In Bedfordshire 

hares and partridges were killed in the fields. 19th August. 
Constantinople. The Royal Palace and many buildings were 

destroyed by earthquake. 26th September. 
England. Great storm inflicting serious damage in various parts, 

and especially in London. 3rd November. 
Eastern Europe. Earthquake shock extended from Cronstadt to 

Constantinople. 26th October. The shocks were most violent in 

the Danubian Principalities. 
London. Dreadful hailstorm in Haymarket, and two or three 

adjoining streets, without the least appearance of hail in the other 

parts of London. " A fire-ball fell in Oxenden-street which tore 

up the pavement." 9th June. 
Holland. Severe earthquake shock. End of January. 
India. Severe hailstorms in Allahabad ; early in year. 
Naples. Earthquake at Frosolone; 6,000 lives lost; also through- 
out Calabria ; 20,000 lives lost. 
Piedmont. Earthquake shocks ; and in valley of the Rhone. 
Somersetshire. Great storm, accompanied with hailstones, measured 

6 and 7 inches in circumference. 15th July. 
Azores. A village of Las Casas, in the island of St. Michael's, sunk, 

and a lake of boiling water appeared in its place. 11th August. 
A remarkably conspicuous comet appeared. Its length on 15th 

October was estimated by Herschel to be 100,000,000 miles. It 

was visible all the autumn.* 

* The vintage of 1811 has now acquired a peculiar celebrity, and the 
good wine produced that year all over France has been generally attributed to 
the influence of the comet. It is strange that its excellence was not recognised 
at the time, but France was passing through too anxious a crisis to care much 
for choice wines, and these vintages were in the autumn of the following year 
freely sold at from 1,200 frs. a cask to 1,500 frs. a cask. In 1868 there was a 
sale of the cellars of Chateau Laffite, including much of the comet claret. The 
auction took place on the 27th October, and as these were the days of the luxury 
of the Second Empire high prices were realised. The lots were started at 20 frs. 
a bottle, and the bidding went up to 121 frs., at which price an hotel keeper at 
Bordeaux bought a large quantity. Bottles of this wine were exposed in the 
windows of the hotel afterwards at the sensation price of 150 frs. or about 72^. 
a dozen. In the meantime the comet claret has been growing scarcer every 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd, 


1812 Venezuela. The city of Leon de Caracas destroyed by earthquake ; 

nearly 12,000 persons perished. 26th March. 
'13 Bedfordshire. Great storm of thunder, lightning, and hail, with 

fire-ball which set fire to buildings. October. 
'14 England and Ireland. A tremendous storm, by which great damage 

was occasioned, and many ships wrecked. 16th and 17th December. 
'16 England. An awful gale, by which a great number of vessels were 

lost, and much damage done on the coasts. 31st August. 
'16 Cumberland and Westmoreland. Great storm of wind and hail 

desolated these counties. August. 
'17 China. Chang-Run is overthrown by earthquake ; 2,800 persons buried 

in the ruins. April. 
'18 A comet appeared, which became known as Encke's. It makes its 

revolution in three years and fifteen weeks. 
'18 Turkey. The city of Philipopolis said to be entirely engulphed by 

earthquake. March. 
'19 India. Several earthquakes j district of Kutch sunk, 2,000 persons 

buried. 16th June. 
'19 Italy. Genoa, Palermo, Borne, and many other cities and towns 

greatly damaged by earthquakes ; " thousands perished." 

'19 Greece. Vostitza, the ancient -3Sghun, destroyed by earthquake. 

'19 West Indies. Dreadful hurricane ravaged Leeward Islands. At the 

Island of St. Thomas alone 104 vessels were lost. 20th — 22nd 

'21 England. Great storm along the coast from Durham to Cornwall ; 

many vessels lost. November. 
'22 Costa Rica. The town of Carthago overthrown by earthquake. 

7th May. 

'22 India. Great cyclone in Bombay; as many as 100,000 of the 

June 6 inhabitants destroyed by the tidal wave, and probably an equal 

number of cattle. The loss of property in other respects impossible 

of estimate. 
'22 Aleppo (Syria). Destroyed by earthquake ; above 20,000 perished. 

Shocks on 10th and 13th August and 5th September. 

'22 Chili. Coast permanently raised by earthquake. 19th November. 

'22 Ireland. Great storm and considerable destruction of property, 

particularly in neighbourhood of Dublin. 12th December. 

'23 England. Another comet appeared. 

'24 Manila. An earthquake in. 

'25 Algiers. This city and Blida injured by earthquake ; 7,000 lives lost. 

*26 England. A comet known as Biela's appeared, and was remarkable 

for the nearness with which it approached, not the earth, but the 

earth's path. Its revolution is performed in six years and thirty- 
eight weeks. It appeared again in 1838, 1839, 1845, and 1852, since 

which it has been seen no more. 
'27 India. Fort Kolitaran, near Lahore, destroyed by earthquake 5 about 

1,000 lives lost. 

'27 Columbia (South America) . Some very destructive earthquake shocks. 

'28 England. Awful storm on English coast ; many vessels lost. 12th 

and 13th January. 
'28 Gibraltar. Great storm ; more than 100 vessels destroyed. 18th 


day, and at a great wine sale just concluded (January, 1878) in Paris the " gems 
of the collection " were two bottles of the famous vintage. The price rose 
rapidly, and it was evident that many purchasers were eager to make an invest- 
ment. At last the ultimate fate of the bottles rested between two restaurants, 
and the bidder at 620 frs. was declared the purchaser. That the proprietor of a 
cafe* on the boulevards should pay nearly 2 5 J. for two bottles of claret shows 
that the reign of luxury is not yet over in Paris. 


Walpord — On tlie Famines of 

Table V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 





















Peru. Earthquake shock ; scarcely a house in Lima or Callao 

escaped injury. 30th March. 
Spain. A very destructive earthquake in Murcia, attended with 

fearful destruction of life and property. 21st March. 
China. Canton and neighbourhood suffered from earthquake ; above 

6,000 perished. 26th and 27th May. 
Cape of Good Hope. Dreadful storm ; immense damage to property. 

16th July. 
Parma (Duchy of) . Above forty shocks of earthquake at Borgotaro ; 

and at Pontermoli many houses thrown down. 14th February. 
Chili. The city of Conception, Santiago, and other towns destroyed 

by earthquake. 20th February. 
Calabria (Naples). Coxenza and villages destroyed j 1,000 persons 

buried in the ruins by earthquake. 29th April. 
Calabria. Earthquake at Castiglione ; ioo persons perished. 12th 

Syria. The town of Saphit and many villages destroyed by earth- 
quake. 1st January. 
England. Slight earthquake shock at Shrewsbury. 17th March. 
„ Great hurricane visited London and neighbourhood ; 

considerable destruction of property ; but very little loss of life. 

28th October. 
England and Ireland. Awful hurricane on West Coast and in 

Ireland. Through Cheshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire the 

damage immense. Many vessels wrecked, some of great value. In 

Limerick, Gal way, Athlone, and other places, many houses destroyed ; 

and the destruction was extended by fires. Dublin suffered 

much. The southern portions of England escaped. 6th and 7th 

Martinique. Nearly half of Port Royal destroyed by earthquake ; 

about 700 killed and the whole island damaged. 11th January. 
Ternate. The island laid waste by earthquake, and thousands of 

lives lost. 14th July. 
St. Domingo. Earthquake at Cape Haytien, which destroyed nearly 

two-thirds of town ; between 4,000 and 5,000 lives lost. 7th 

Armenia. "Awful and destructive earthquake at Mount Ararat; 

3,137 houses overthrown, and several hundreds of persons perished." 

27th July. 
Zante. Great earthquake, many persons perished. 30th October. 
India. Earthquake destroyed fortifications at Jellalabad. 19th 

St. Domingo. Earthquake demolished the town of Cape Haytien, 

and destroyed not fewer than 10,000 lives. A fire broke out 

afterwards, blowing up the powder magazine, and with it the 

inhabitants who had escaped the first effects of the earthquake. 

7th May. 
England. Terrific hailstorm in Norfolk, causing great devastation 

of the crops through the county. A voluntary county rate was 

made in favour of the sufferers. Out of these events grew the 

General Hailstorm Insurance Society of Norwich. 
West Indies. Destructive earthquake, destroying much property at 

Antigua, St. Thomas, and St. Christopher. Pointe-a-Pitre, Guada- 

loupe, was entirely destroyed, and many hundreds of persons buried 

in the ruins. 4th February. 
England. Earthquake shocks in North and in Scotland. 10th 

Germany. Earthquake shocks. 25th December. 
Java. Severe earthquake shocks. 8th February. 
Mexico. The city is much damaged by earthquake shocks. 7th April. 

the World : Past and Present 


Table V. — Cornels, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, Sc. — Contd. 

















Norway. Earthquake more destructive in its consequences than any 

previously recorded. 14th November. 
Mexico. The city of Attixco destroyed by earthquake, with great 

loss of life. 23rd October. 
Rhodes and Maori. Earthquakes. A mountain fell at the latter place, 

crushing a village and destroying 6oo persons. 28th February and 

7th March. 
Valparaiso. More than 400 houses destroyed by earthquake. 2nd 

Italy. Earthquake ; much damage all through the Peninsula. Amain* 

almost laid in ruins, and 2,000 inhabitants overwhelmed; 14,000 

lives lost in various parts. 14th August. 
St. Jag (Cuba). Earthquake destroyed southern part of city and 

many inhabitants. 20th August. 
Philippine Islands. Manila injured by earthquake. 16th — 30th Sep- 
England. Slight shock of earthquake in north-west; also felt in 

Ireland. 9th November. 
England. In December and January many storms of great severity, 

with much destruction of property. 
Persia. The city of Shiraz destroyed by earthquake, about 10,000 

inhabitants overwhelmed. 4th May. 
Venezuela (South America). City of Cumana destroyed by earthquake. 

As many as 800 persons buried in ruins. An entire company of 

artillery, with Colonel Percy, perished in their quarters. 15th 

Greece. Thebes nearly destroyed by earthquake, and shocks in other 

parts. 18th August. 
South America. St. Salvador destroyed by earthquake. One-fourth 

of the inhabitants destroyed. 16th April. 
Black Sea. Great storm, causing much loss of life and destruction 

of shipping and stores sent for allied armies in Crimea. 13th — 

16th November. 
Japan. Anasaca and Simoda (in Niphon) destroyed by earthquake ; 

Jed do much injured. 23rd December. 
North of Europe. Great storm ; considerable damage. 31st December, 
Turkey. Broussa nearly destroyed by earthquake. 28th February. 
Central Europe. Several villages destroyed by earthquake. 25th 

and 26th July. 
Japan. Jeddo nearly destroyed by earthquake, 30,000 inhabitants 

overwhelmed. 11th November. 
Moluccas Islands. (On the Great Tanger.) Earthquake and 

volcanic eruption ; nearly 3,000 lives lost. 2nd March. 
Mediterranean. An earthquake extensive in its operation and 

destructive in its effects, felt on the islands and eastern shore. In 

the city of Valetta scarcely a building escaped injury; at Civita 

Vecchi the dome of the cathedral was rent ; at Thyree and Candia 

the ruined buildings took fire, and many lives were lost. Trifling 

damage at Cairo and Alexandria. 12th October. 
Scotland. Great storm on north-east coast ; many fishing boats 

lost. 23rd November. 
Naples (Italy). An earthquake, extending from the Mediterranean to 

the Adriatic, with varying violence, but inflicting the greatest 

damage at Calabria, in Naples. " Complete villages were engulphed 

in the yawning fissures." It was thought that as many as 10,000 

lives were sacrificed. 16th December. 
Note. — In the course of seventy-five years, from 1783 down to this 

date, the kingdom of Naples lost at least 111,000 inhabitants by 

the effects of earthquakes, or more than 1,500 per annum, out of 

an average population of 6,000,000.— Lacaita. 


Walpobd — On the Famines of 

Table V.— Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 





















Corinth nearly destroyed by earthquake. 21st February. 

Donati's comet appeared at Florence. It was believed to be near 

coming into collision with Venus. 
Quito (Ecuador). About 5,000 persons killed, and an immense 

amount of property destroyed by earthquake. 22nd March. 
Armenia. Earthquake at Erzeroum; thousands perished. 2nd June, 

17th July. 
England. Dreadful storm on 25th and 26th October. The " Royal 
Charter," and many other vessels lost. Another great storm on 
31st October and 1st November. 
England. Slight shock of earthquake in Cornwall. 21st October. 
San Salvador. Many buildings destroyed by earthquake. 8th 

England. Slight shock of earthquake in Cornwall. 13th January. 
„ Great storm in Channel, causing much loss of life and 

property. 1st January. Dreadful gales 26th — 28th February, 
28th May, and 2nd June. 

England. Great gales; part of Crystal Palace blown down; 
Chichester Cathedral steeple fell. 20th and 21st February. 

The comet of this year first discovered at Sydney, in Australia, is 
known as the " Great Comet." It was afterwards seen in France 
and England. It was supposed to travel 10,000,000 of miles in 
twenty-four hours. On 30th June it was suggested that we (in Eng- 
land) were in the tail, there being "a phosphorescent auroral glare." 

South America. Earthquake ; the cities of Mendoza, San Juan, and 
San Louis, all populous towns in the Argentine Republic, destroyed. 
The first and principal shock occurred about 8 p.m., succeeded by 
other shocks which spread over the three following days. The total 
number of lives lost was at a minimum estimate put at 15,000. 
Not only were the cities overturned, but the entire district was 
broken up, rivers being turned from their courses and roads and 
bridges broken up in one general ruin. In the Jesuit church of 
Mendoza, where a large number had gathered for evening service, 
the roof and walls fell down, and enclosed the worshippers in one 
vast sepulchre. 20th — 23rd March. 

Italy. In Perugia, earthquake ; several lives lost. 8th May. 

Britain. Great storm, British coasts — 143 wrecks, 28th May ; and 
13th and 14th November, storm on north coast. Fifty wrecks. 

Greece. North Morea, Corinth, &c., injured by earthquake. 26th 

England. Great hailstorm, from 6 to 7 feet deep, at Market Laver- 
ton (? Somerset) ; much damage to crops. 2nd September. 

England. Great storm on British coasts ; many wrecks. 19th and 
20th October. 

Guatemala. Earthquake destroyed 115 buildings and 14 churches. 
19th December. 

England. Extensive gales, accompanied by numerous wrecks. 19th 

Rhodes. Thirteen villages destroyed by earthquake. About 300 lives 
lost, and much cattle and property destroyed. 22nd April. 

Philippine Islands. Immense destruction of property at Manilla by 
earthquake; and about 10,000 persons perished. 2nd and 3rd July. 

England. Central, west, and north-west, earthquake shocks. 6th 

Mexico. Earthquake shock on 3rd October. 

India. Great cyclone at Calcutta ; immense damage done on land 
and sea ; great part of city laid waste ; about 200 ships were re- 
ported to be lost, and about 70,000 persons perished. Whole towns 
nearly destroyed. 5th October. 

Lisbon. Great hurricane ; much damage. 13th December. 

tlie World- : Past and Present 




















V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 

A fine comet appeared in the southern hemisphere, and was visible in 
South America and Australia. 

England. Severe gales ; great damage to shipping. 14th January. 

Sicily. Earthquake shock at Macchia, Bendinella, &c. (on slope of 
Mount Etna), 200 houses destroyed ; 64 persons killed. 18th 

England. Severe gales j many vessels and lives lost. 6th — 11th 

RoumeUa. An earthquake overthrew zoo houses at Avlona. March. 

France. Slight earthquake shock near Tours and Blois. 14th Sep- 

Great cyclone in the Bahamas, at Nassau, New Providence ; above 
600 houses and many churches and other buildings thrown down ; 
between 60 and 70 persons killed, and a great many ships dis- 
mantled. 1st and 2nd October. 

Cephalonia. Earthquake at Argostoti j above 50 persons perished. 
4th February. 

Mitylene (Asia Minor) . Earthquake; about 1,000 killed. 8th and 
9th March. 

Java. Town of Djocja destroyed by earthquake; above 400 
perished. 10th June. 

West Indies. A dreadful hurricane off St. Thomas. The Royal 
mail steamers " Rhine " and "Wye" entirely wrecked. The 
" Conway " and " Derwent " and above fifty other vessels driven 
ashore, and about 1,000 persons lost their lives. 29th October. 

Calcutta. Another cyclone. About 30,000 native huts swept away 
by the tidal wave ; but only about 1,000 lives lost. 1st 

England. Destructive gales. 2nd — 4th December. 

„ Severe gales and destruction of shipping. 22nd and 31st 

January and 1st February. 

Central America. The cities of Arica, Arequipa, Iquique, Tacna, 
and Ghencha, and many small towns in Peru and Ecuador, 
destroyed by earthquake ; about 25,000 lives lost, and 30,000 
rendered homeless. The sea in many places retired a space and 
then rushed over the towns, destroying shipping and houses ; loss 
of property estimated at 6c,ooo,oooZ. 13th — 15th August. 

Note. — About 11, 000 2. was collected in London to relieve the 

California. Earthquake shocks at San Francisco. 21st October. 

England. Slight earthquake shocks felt at Bath, Swansea, and 
Leamington. 31st October. 

Germany. Earthquake shock at Cologne. 17th November. 

Indian and Pacific Seas. Severe earthquake shock. 15th January. 

England. Great storms and loss of shipping. 11th and 12th Sep- 

Ionian Islands. The town of Santa Mura destroyed by earthquake. 
18th December. 

Quebec (Canada). Slight earthquake shock. 20th October. 

Calabria (Naples). Several villages destroyed by earthquake. Early 
in October. 

Darmstadt. Earthquake shock. 10th February. 

England. Slight shock of earthquake in north-west and Yorkshire. 
22nd March. 

West Indies. Cyclone desolated Antigua, St. Kitts, and other 
islands ; many buildings destroyed. 21st August. 

England. Barometer very low ; great storm ; much damage. 24th 

California. Several small towns destroyed by earthquakes. 26th 
and 27th March. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, dkc, — Contd. 


1872 Antioch. Violent earthquake ; shook foundations of city, again 

laying greater part in ruins. 3rd April. 

'72 India. Destructive cyclone at Madras ; ships lost. 1st May. 

'72 England. After several days' intense heat, violent storms, and 

deluges of rain in the midland and southern counties. 24th — 26th 
June. Other storms in July and August. Violent gale. 8th 
'72 ..%.... Europe. In the Memoir of Alfred Smee, F.R.S., there occurs the 
following passage: "The intensity and violence of the storms 
throughout Europe this summer naturally attract general 

'72 India. Lehree, Eastern Catchi, Sind, destroyed by earthquake ; 

about 500 persons killed. 14th and 15th December. 

'73 San Salvador (Brazil) nearly destroyed by earthquake ; about 50 

killed ; the rest escaped through timely warning. 19th March. 

'73 North Italy. Earthquake shock ; buildings destroyed and lives lost 

in Venetia. 29th June. 

*73 Scotland. " Awful storm ; " much loss of life and property. 22nd 

and 23rd July. 

'73 England. Great storms in Lancashire and Yorkshire. 16th De- 

'74 Coggia's comet was discovered at Marseilles. It gradually increased 

in brightness, but passed out of sight in Europe. It appeared 
very brilliant at Melbourne. 

'74 London. Awful storm ; buildings fired by lightning j lives lost ; 

railways flooded, &c. 11th July. 

'74 Spain. At Azagra landslip produced by earthquake; killed 200 

people. 22nd July. 

'74 Guatemala. Antigua and other places destroyed by earthquake. 

3rd September. 

'74 Song Kong. G-reat typhoon at Macoa. 22nd September. 

'74 England. Violent gales, with destruction of life and property. 21st 

October, 29th November, 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th December. 

'75 Scotland. Severe snowstorms, loss of life. 1st and 3rd January. 

'75 Asia Minor. Karsa Hissa, and other places destroyed by earthquake ; 

great loss of life. 3rd and 5th May. 

'75 Smyrna. Earthquake, many perish. 12th May. 

*75 Chili. San Jose de Cucuta, and other towns near Colombo destroyed 

by earthquake j about 14,000 lives reported to be lost. 16th and 
18th May. 

'75 Buda-Pesth. Destructive storms ; about 200 persons killed. 26th 


'75 Geneva. Violent hailstorm ; great destruction of glass and crops. 

7th and 8th July. 

'75 West Indies. The Isle of St. Vincent swept by a hurricane of 

Sept. 9 unusual severity. Much damage. 

1875 Texas. Great storm at Gaveleston, Indianapola, and other places ; 

houses and villages washed away, and great loss of life. 15th — 18th 

'75 England. Whirlwinds in Isle of Wight cause great destruction 5 

Sept. 28 also hurricane in Oxfordshire. 

1875 India. Lahore and vicinity sustained earthquake shock; property 

destroyed and lives lost. 12th December. 

'76 Vienna. Shocks of earthquake along banks of Danube. 17th 


'76 Sicily. Severe shocks of earthquake at Messina. 13th September. 

'76 India. Great cyclone in Bengal. A tidal wave, extending, it was 

Oct. 31 estimated, over 3,000 square miles, being in many places more than 
20 feet deep. The loss of life was estimated at 215,000, while the 
destruction of property was incalculable. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table V.— Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, dkc. — Contd. 



Nov. 7 


Jan. 15 


Feb. 7 


March 29 




April 12 


April 19 

April 20 


May 14 
1878 ....1 
May 21 J 

May 23 

1878 .... 


June 27 

June 30 

India. The district of Baharganj (the delta thrown out by the 

united waters of the Ganges) desolated by a cyclone. 
South America and Sandwich Islands. Simultaneous destruction of 

Iquiqua, Peru, and Hilso, Sandwich Islands, by an earthquake and 

tidal ware. 10th May. 
Indian Ocean. A cyclone devastated the island of Bourbon, 

and the next crops, it is feared, will show a considerable 

Tahiti. A terrible hurricane, by which much property was destroyed, 

and about 120 lives lost. 
England. A tornado in south of England, followed by snow. It 

was during this that Her. Majesty's ship " Eurydice " was lost off 

the Isle of Wight. 
England. Terrible gale in the early days of this month. The 

East Anglian Daily Times, in describing the effects of the gale 

upon Lowestoft fishing boats, said that upwards of 200 lost every 

net they had on board, and out of 500 boats only 100 are now fit 

for sea. 
Canton. A destructive hurricane, accompanied by two waterspouts, 

caused immense damage here to-day in the foreign concession and 

the native city. No lives are reported to have been lost among the 

foreign population. 
Turkey. An earthquake caused considerable damage at Mondania, 

Sabandja, and in the environs of Broussa and Ismid. 
Bay of Biscay. Continuous storms. " During the recent hurricane 

about 1 50 fishermen from the neighbourhood of Bilbao and San- 

tander were drowned." — Times Telegram. 
Venezuela. Terrific earthquake at Cua ; 6co persons killed ; severe 

shock also at Caracas. 

Hong Kong. Terrible thunderstorm, occasioning much damage. 

United States. A terrific tornado crossed a portion of Winconsin, 
passing from the south-west to the north-east, and devastating a 
long strip of country, including the towns of Mineral Point, Mount 
Vernon, Primrose, Oregon, and Paoli, while the feeble effects of the 
same tornado were felt at Madison, also as far south as Chicago. 
In the direct path of the storm everything was demolished, and 
hundreds of buildings were destroyed. The debris was blown many 
miles. From reports thus far received it appears that 30 persons 
were killed and 50 injured. Several dead weie carried to long 
distances by the whirlwind and then dasbed to the ground. Those 
injured were generally in destroyed buildings. In one case a 
school house with the teacher and scholars were carried away 
several rods, three of the scholars being killed, but some escaping 

Great Britain. During this month most severe storms, accom- 
panied with lightning, occurred in various parts of the kingdom. 
During the storm which passed over Perthshire on 28th and 29th, 
the monument which was erected by Mr. Crieff in 1832 in memory 
of Sir David Baird, the hero at the storming at Seringapatam, was 
almost entirely destroyed. The monument, which was a counter- 
part of Cleopatra's Needle, was 80 feet high, and cost 4,000?. to 
erect. It was struck on the top ; 20 feet of it was thrown to the 
ground, and the base was also injured by the electric fluid. 

Ireland. Great storm in south of Ireland; much damage occa- 

England. Very severe storms in various parts of the country, accom- 
panied by lightning and torrents of rain. At Enfield (north of 
London) 3*07 inches of rain was recorded during a thunderstorm. 
Hailstorms in west of England. 


Walford— On the Famines of 




July 4 


July 9 


July 23 

1878 .... 

V. — Comets, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Hailstorms, <&c. — Contd. 

United States. A tornado, accompanied by thunder, lightning, and 
hail, occurred at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, inflicting great damage 
within a radius of io miles from that town. The lightning 
destroyed the Vesta Oilworks, consuming 80,000 barrels of petro- 
leum. Torrents of rain at the same time swept down the hills 
into the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers. One house was quite 
swept away, and five persons were drowned. The tornado burst 
over a party picnicing at Rossgrove, seven miles from Pittsburg, 
uprooting five large trees, which fell upon a large number of people 
who had sought shelter beneath them, killing fourteen and injuring 

Southern Austria. Along the valley of the Save, there was a few 
days ago a very severe hailsjttrm, which has done a great deal of 
damage to the crops. The hailstones are reported to have been 
unusually large. The Neue Freie Presse describes them as being 
of such a size that they broke the tiles on the roofs and severely 
injured several persons. 

Switzerland. Great damage was done throughout Central and 
Eastern Switzerland by a series of severe thunderstorms. Many 
buildings were destroyed and set on fire by the lightning, rivers 
overflowed their banks, and the Berne-Lucerne Railway received 
injuries so serious that the traffic between those places has had to 
be temporarily suspended. At the same time a heavy hailstorm 
devastated the crops and vineyards in the neighbourhood of Mon- 
treuxj and the hamlet of Thusinge, Canton Yaud, was almost 
destroyed by a fire. 

England. During all the latter part of the month continued storms, 
of great severity. 

Note. — The literature relating mainly to this table is very extended, 
and forms a separate table itself — No. VII. 

5. Insects, Vermin, fyc. — As to insects, plagues of these appear to 
have afflicted mankind from a very early period. Thns we read in 
the eighth, ninth, and tenth chapters of the Book of Exodus, of the 
plagues of Egypt, supposed to have occurred in the year 1491 B.C. 
There was first the plague of flies, and then of locusts ; "15. For 
" they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was 
" darkened ; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all 
" the fruit of the trees which the hail had left : and there remained 
" not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through 
"all the land of Egypt" We are told "14. . . . . Before 
" them, there were no such locusts as they, neither after them 
" shall be such." But there have been some very much like 
them, especially in the United States. I have endeavoured to 
construct a table of such visitations. It must be regarded as very 

As to Vermin, such as Bats, Mice, <fec, destroying the crops, 
there are but few instances on record, and these are so scattered as 
to be by no means readily brought into tabular form. One or two 
instances will be found included in the following table : — 

the World : Past and Present. 












"90 or 91 


























Table VI. — Plagues of Insects and Vermin. 
Egypt. The plagues of {inter alia) flies and locusts. 

Scotland. Infinite swarms of insects eat up all the grain and cause 

Northern Nations. Great swarms of locusts. 

England. " Greatest swarms eat up grass, all grain, and fruits ; 
famine." — Shoet. 

England. Locusts, with drought. 

Syria and Mesopotamia. " Eaten up with them." 

England. " A monstrous kind ; hence famine and plague." — SHOBT. 

Ireland. Invasion of locusts, and famine. 

England. Locusts and floods ; famine. 

Constantinople. Plague of insects. 

England. " Swarms of strange flies." — Shoet. 

Bavaria. Swarms of butterflies for three days, from Saxony. 

Jerusalem. A plague of insects. Short gives the date 1120 : 
" Plague of mice and locusts." 

England. " Clouds of small flying worms [? bugs] darken the sun." 
— Shoet. 

England. " Swarms of butterflies sprinkled with blood." — Shoet. 
„ Plague of flies and gnats. 

Germany . At Carinthia locusts eat up all ; famine and plague. 

Scotland. " Was eat up by palmer-worms." 

Prussia. Infested with venomous worms. 

England. Many insects. 

Plague of flies and beetles on the Avon. 24th February. 
A plague of mice in Essex ; but killed by owls. 
" Swarms of flies, fleas, and gnats." — Shoet. 

(?) Spain. Insects and caterpillars, then flies, at Lusana (?) Luisiana, 
or (?) Lausanne (Switzerland). 

(?) Austria. At Strigonium [? Striguo, in the Tyrol]. Clouds of 
grasshoppers darkened the air. 

France. At Languedoc, strange devouring grasshoppers. 

England. Gnats, flies, and insects. 

India. At Kach (Bombay Presidency) swarms of black ants ate up 
the crops. 

India. At Kach swarms of locusts destroy crops. 

„ Crops destroyed in parts of Sind by locusts; in other 
localities by a plague of rats ; and again in other districts by 

India. In Madras Presidency swarms of locusts. 

United States. Great plague of loousts in Mormon settlements 
(Utah). Crops partially destroyed. Sea-gulls (never before or 
since seen in this locality) came in great numbers and devoured the 
locusts, thus preventing absolute famine. This was regarded as a 
piece of divine intervention. This was told to the writer by the 
Mormon elders in 1874. 

United States. Locusts appeared in the Red River Settlements. 

„ The western plains were again ravaged by locusts. 

The writer passed through one of the districts so visited in the 
early autumn ; the devastation was complete. 

In 1877 Mr. C. V. Riley, M.A., Ph.D., published in Chicago: "The 
Locust Plague in the United States: being more particularly a 
treatise on the Rocky Mountain Locust, or so-called Grasshopper, 
as it occurs east of the Rocky Mountains, with practical Recom- 
mendations for its Destruction. Illustrated. 

United States. The Colorado (potato) beetle committed great devas- 
tation of the crops in various parts of the United States. It has 
since shown itself in Germany and in Great Britain. 

North China. The famine now raging began in one district by a 
visitation of locusts. 


Walford— On the Fa/mines of 




June 9 


Table VI. — Plagues of Insects and Vermin — Cwvtd. 

Spain. Locusts appeared (April) in fifty-three communes in the 
province of Badajoz. 

Algeria. Dr. Or. Hellmann, in the Austrian Journal, 1st April, dis- 
cusses the importance of an independent telegraphic organisation 
for the requirements of the western parts of the Mediterranean 
seaboard. He shows how reports from the Azores would be of the 
first importance to the district in question. Among other uses of 
the proposed intelligence system Dr. Hellmann suggests the pos- 
sibility of locust warnings ! The advance of these plagues over at a regular rate, and it is quite possible to adopt pre- 
cautionary measures for killing them if one knows they are ap- 
proaching. — Academy. 

Bosnia. 9th June. Locusts have appeared on the south side of the 
Neretva river, devastating the scanty crops there, which were the 
only hope of a resource from threatening famine. 

India. In the Times telegram, under date, Calcutta, 30th June, 
it is stated, "In Mysore locusts continue to cause damage." In 
the Times of India, at a later date, it was announced, " Locusts 
hare appeared in great numbers in parts of the Madras Presi- 
dency." A later telegram, 25th July, says, " Considerable anxiety 
is felt by the Madras Government in consequence of the destruction 
caused by locusts. Bequest has accordingly been made to the 
Government of India for the immediate despatch to Madras of 
extra famine officers. Furloughs have been completely stopped in 
Bengal. The Madras Government has issued instructions to all 
collectors to take energetic and vigilant measures for the destruc- 
tion of locusts, and, on the appearance in any district of young 
locusts, to hire gangs of men to be employed under the famine 
officers in exterminating them. It is suggested that deep trenches 
should be dug, and the young locusts driven into them and 

Literature of Meteorology as affecting Famines. 

I have found it of the utmost value in dealing with historical 
questions, to review the special literature relating to the point or 
the period under consideration. It gives a much firmer grasp of 
any question to know what were the contemporary views upon it, 
what was the degree of attention drawn to it : for this latter the 
literature at any period within the last three centuries is a certain 
guide. I venture to think that it is of no less value in regard to 
statistical inquiries such as the present. In this belief I have 
compiled the following chronological table of the literature of 
storms, &c. It is supplemental to the preceding tables : it throws 
light upon them, which is occasionally of great value. That it 
occupies so much space, is simply due to the fact that I have 
endeavoured to make it complete ; and yet I am well aware that a 
critical examination will reveal some omissions. It is the first time 
such a table has been attempted, so far as I am aware. Subsequent 
labourers in the same direction may take heart that something is 
left for them to do. 

The direct literature of famines will be best reserved for the 
second part of the paper. 

the World ; Past and Present. 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, d&c. 













Among tlie works of Aristotle was one on inundations of the Kile. 
It was republished in Paris in 1493, under the title of " De Inun- 
datione Nile." 4to. 

Heuy Newes of an horryble Earthquake, which was in the Citie of 
Scarbaria, in this present yere of xlii, the xiii June j and also that 
a citie in Turkey is sonke. London. Printed by Richard Lant. 

The great wonders that are chaunced in the Realme of Naples; 
with a great Misfortune happened at Borne, and in other places, by 
an Earthquake in the month of December last past. Translated 
out of the Frenche into Englishe by J. A. London. 16mo. 
Printed by Henry Denham. 

A Declaration of such tempestuous and outrageous Flooddes as hath 
been in divers places of England, 1570. London. 8vo. This 
tract enumerates the loss and damage in the several counties, par- 
ticularly in the Bishopric of Ely. — Watt. 

A Goodly G-allery with a most pleasaunt Prospect into the Garden of 
Naturall Contemplation to beholde the Naturall Causes of all kind 
of Meteors, as well as fyery as ayery, as watry and earthly, of 
which sorte be biasing starres, shootinge starres, names in the ayre, 
&c., thonder, lightninge, earthquakes, &c. ; rayne, dew, snowe, 
cloudes, springes, &c. ; stones, metalles, earthes. To the glory of 
God and the profit of his creatures. By William Fulke [or 
Fulco), a celebrated English divine. London. 

Of all Biasing Starrs in general, as well supernaturall as naturall ; 
to what Country or People soever they appear. By Abraham 
Fleming. London. 

A view of certain " Wonderful Effects M of late days come to passe, 
and now newly conferred with the presignification of the Comete, 
or Biasing Star which appeared in the south-west, upon the 
10th day of November last past. Written by T. T. London, 
1578. 4to. Printed by John Jones. 

The booke of the Earthquake, to the Good Deane of Paules. By 
Thomas Churchyard, poet. 

A G-odly Admonition for the time present j wrote on occasion of the 
Earthquake on the 6th April, 1580. Printed by Eeginalde Wolff. 
London. 4to. 

Translation of Frederick Nauze, his generall Doctrine of Earth- 
quakes. By Abraham Fleming. London. 8vo. 

A Shorte and Pithie Discourse concerning the engendering Tokens 
and Effects of all Earthquakes in generall, particularly applyed 
to that 6th April, 1580. By Thomas Twyne, M.D. London. 

A Bright Burning Beacon, forewarning all Wise Virgins to Trim 
there Lamps against the coming of the Bridgroom. Containing a 
General Doctrine of Sundry Signs and Wonders, especially Earth- 
quakes. By Abraham Fleming. London. 12mo. 

Three proper and Wittie familiar Letters, lately passed betueene two 
Vniversitie men, touching the Earthquake in April last, and our 
English reformed versifying, with a preface of a well-wisher to 
them both. By Gabriel Harvey, " A Caustic Wit." London. 4to. 
Black Letter. 

A Discourse on the Earthquake that happened in England and other 
places in 1580. By Arthur Golding. London. 8vo. 

A Warning to the Wyse, a Feare to the Fond, a Bridle to the Lewde, 
and a Glasse to the Good ; written of the late Earthquake chanced 
in London and other places, the 6th of April, 1580, for the Glory 
of God and benefit of men, that warely can walke, and wisely can 
judge. Set forth in verse and prose, by Thomas Churchyard, 
gentleman. London. 8vo. 


Walford— On the Famines of 

Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, dec.—Contd. 













The Order of Prayer and other Exercises to avert and turn God's 
Wrath from us, threatned hy the late terrible Earthquake, &c. ; 
with a prayer to be Tsed of Householders euery Euening ; a Godly 
Admonition ; and a Report of the Earthquake, which happened on 
Easter Wednesday, 6th April, 1580, somewhat before six of the 
Clock in the afternoon. 4to. London. Printed by x Qhristopher 

Sorrowf ull Song for Sinfull Soules ; composed upon the stronge and 
wonderful shaking of the Earth, on 6 of Aprill, 1580. By John 
Carpenter. London. 8vo. 
Versio et Annott ad Varios Auctores de Meteorologicis Affectionibus, 
seu de Causes et Signis Pluviarum, Ventorum, &c. By Sig. Fed. 
TJrbinus Bonaventura. Venice. 4to. 

De Tiberis Inundatione et Epidemia Romana. By Marsilius 
Cagnatus, an Eminent Physican. Verona. 

A Contemplation of Mysteries ; contayning the rare effectes and 
significations of certayne Comets, and a briefe rehersall of sundrie 
Hystories, examples, as well Divine as Prophane, verie fruitfull to 
be read in this our age : with matter delectable both for the sayler 
and husbandman, yea and all traueylers by sea and lande, in know- 
ing aforehand how dangerous tempests will succeed, by the sight 
of the cloud coming over the head; and other matters fruitfull 
to be reade. Gathered and Englished by Thomas Hyll. London. 

G-od's Warning to His people of England, by the Great Overflowing of 
the Waters in Floudes, lately hapned in South Wales and many 
other places ; wherein is described the great losses and wonderful 
damages that hapned thereby, by the Drowning of many Townes 
and Villages to the vtter vndooing of many thousandes of people. 
Printed at London for W. Barlay and Io. Bayly, and are to be 
solde in Gratious Street, 1607. 4to. Black letter. 12 pages. — 
See Floods this date. 

Discorso sopria l'lnondatione del Tevere. By Nic. Galli. Rome. 4to. 

Discorso sopra l'lnondatione dell Acque del Bolognese. By Sig. 
Alidosi. Bologna. 4to. 

Drinke and Welcome; or the Famous Historie of the most of 
Drinkes in use now in the Kingdoms of Great Brittaine and 
Ireland ; with an especiall Declaration of the Potency, Virtue and 
Operation of our English Ale ; with a description of all sortes of 
Waters, from the Ocean See to the Tears of a Woman : as also the 
Causes of all Sorts of Weather, Faire or Foule, 81eete, Raine, Haile, 
Frost, Snow, Fogges, Mists, Vapours, Cloudes, Stormes, Windes, 
Thunder, and Lightning. Compiled first in the High Dutch 
tounge by the painef ull and industrious Huldriche Van Speagle, and 
now most learnedly enlarged, amplified, and translated in English 
Prose and Verse, by John Taylor, " the Water Poet." London. 

True and Terrible Narration of an Earthquake in Calabria. By 
Martin Parker. London. 8vo. 

Dreadfull News, or, a True Relation of the Great Violent and late* 
Earthquake which occurred on 27th March at Callabria, in Naples, 
to the overthrow of Eight Cities, Twenty-four Towns, and Fifty- 
four thousand Persons, &c. London. Small 4to. 

On Inundations. By Martin Schoochms, a learned Dutch writer. 
Date and place of publication uncertain. 

In Salusbury's Mathematical Collection, published this year (tome ii, 
p. 100), is included : A Relation of the State of the Inundations, &c, 
in the Territories of Bologna and Ferrara. By D. Corsini. 

De Cometis ; or a Discourse on the Nature and Effects of Comets. 
By John Q-adbury, " Astrological Imposture." London. 4to. 

the World : Past and Present, 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <&c. — Contd. 



















Geologica Norvegica ; or, a brief Instructive Remembrancer, con- 
cerning that very great and spacious Earthquake, which happened 
almost quite through the south parts of Norway upon the 24th day 
of April, 1657. Translated by Dan. Collins. London. 12mo. 

Account of an Earthquake at Oxford in 1665. By Dr. John Wallis, 
F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., 1666, abr. i, p. 59. 

A Relation of the late Prodigious Earthquake and Eruption of 
Mount Etna. By Heneage Finch, Earl of Winchelsea. London. 

Theatrum Cometicum. By Stanislaus Zubrienietoki, an eminent 
Socinian divine. Amsterdam, 1666-68. Ludg. Bat., 1681. This 
is the most considerable of his works, and contains, among other 
things, the History of Comets from the Flood to 1665. " A work 
of great labour, containing a minute historical account of every 
comet that has been seen or recorded." — Watt. 

Concerning the Origin and Property of the Wind, with an historical 
account of Hurricanes, &c. By R. Bohun. Oxford, 1671 and 1693. 

A relation of two considerable Hurricanes in Northamptonshire. 
John Templer of Braybrook. — Phil. Trans., abr. i, p. 593. 

Concerning a strange Frost about Bristol. — Phil. Trans., abr. ii, 
p. 37. 

To show that the Rain and Snow Waters are sufficient to make Foun- 
tains and Rivers run perpetually. — Phil. Trans., abr. ii, p. 242. 

Letters, and Collections of Letters concerning Comets, &c. Robert 
Hooke, M.D., F.R.S. London. 4to. Also Discourses concerning 
Earthquakes. ? date. 

On a Storm, and some Lakes in Scotland. By Sir George Mackenzie, 
King's Advocate. — Phil. Trans., abr. ii., p. 210. 

Account of the Signification of the Comet which hath been long 
visible in England. By William Knight. London. 4to. 

The Voice of the Stars. By William Knight. London. 12mo. 

A Judgement of the Comet which became first generally visible in 
Dublin, 13th December, 1680. By Edward Wettenhall, D.D., 
Bishop of Kenmore. London. 8vo. 

Account of an Earthquake at Oxford, September 17th, 1683. 

Three Papers upon Earthquakes. By Martin Lister, M.D. — Phil. 
Trans., abr. iii, p. 16. 

Ondersock over de Kometci ; that is, An Inquiry concerning Comets, 
occasioned by the Comet which appeared in 1680 and 1681. By 
Balthazar Bekker. Leuward. 8vo. In this book, which was 
written in Low Dutch, he endeavoured to show that Comets are 
not the presages or forerunners of any evil. 

On the Effects of the great Frost of 1683 on Trees and other plants. — 
Phil. Trans , abr. iii, p. 89. 

Effects of the Great Frost on Trees and other plants. 

Concerning a Discovery made by the Inundations of the Tevore. By 
Sig. Sarotti. — Phil. Trans., abr. iii, 340. 

Tractatus De Cometis: Cometae Anni 1680, et plurium prseceden- 
tium ab Anno 843, et sequentium Uttriusque Testimenti et 
posterioribus Prophetiis cum Apocalipsi convenientibus. Concor- 
datum in Remedium omnium Ecclesia Rom. adversititatum. Col- 
lectore, M. A. Malonoxio Vedasto-Novavillano Noso-comii D. V. 
Tornaci Pastore indigno. Leodii, Typis Gerardi Grison, in Antiquo 

A Summary of the Causes of the Alterations which have happened 
to the Face of the Earth. By John Ray, F.R.S., Naturalist. 

Practical Reflections on the late Earthquakes in Jamaica, England, 
Sicily, Malta, '&c. By John Shower, Minister of the Gospel. 
London. 8vo. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table VIL — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <&c— Contd. 















A Discourse of Earthquakes. By Robert Fleming, a Scotch Divine. 

Account of the Earthquake in Sicily. By Martin Hartop. — Phil. 

Trans., abr. iii, 555. Author's account of the same. Ibid., 556. 
Account of the Earthquakes in Sicily on the 9th and 11th January, 

1692-93. Translated from an Italian Letter. — Phil. Trans., abr. iii, 

602. By Yincentus Bonajutus. 
Earthquakes Explained and Practically Improved. Occasioned by 

the late Earthquake on September 8th, 1692, in London and many 

other parts of England, and beyond Sea. By Thomas Doolittle, 

M.A. "Jamaica's miseries show London's mercies. Both com- 
pared." London : printed for John Salusbury, at the Rifling Sun, 

over against the Royal Exchange, in Cornhill, 1693. 
On a Whirlwind. — Phil. Trans., abr. iii, p. 660. 
The G-eneral History of Earthquakes. By Richard Browne. London, 

8vo. Sold by Nathaniel Crouch, Bookseller. 
A Methodical Account of Earthquakes. By Leonard Christ. Sturmius, 

Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Altorf . 
Account of the Earthquakes in Peru in 1687 and in Jamaica, 1687 

and 1692. By Sir Hans Sloane. — Phil. Trans., abr. iii, p. 624. 
Account of a Volcanic Eruption in the Isle of Sorea in 1693. — Phil. 

Trans., 1695, abr. iv, p. 13. By Nicholas Witzen. 
Further Account of the Horrible Burning of some Mountains of the 

Molucca Islands. Ibid., p. 163. By the same. 
Course of some Rivers about Tungarouse destroyed by an Earth- 
quake. By Nicholas Witzen, Burgomaster of Amsterdam. — Phil. 

Trans., 1695, abr. iv, p. 502. 
On the Production and Effects of Hail, Thunder, and Lightning. 

By Dr. John Wallis, F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. iv, 196, 212, and 

An Essay towards a Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial 

Bodies, especially in Minerals ; as also of the Sea, Rivers, and 

Springs ; with an Account of the Universal Deluge, and of the 

effects that it had upon the Earth. By John Woodward, M.D. 

1695, 1702, 1723. 8vo. 
Also a Treatise : Earthquakes caused by some Accidental Obstruction 

of a continual Subterranean Head. 
An Extraordinary Hail. By Edmund Halley, F.R.S. — Phil. Trans., 

abr. iv, 171, 172. 
A Note concerning an Extraordinary Hail in Monmouthshire. By 

Edward Lhwyd, Antiquary. — Phil. Trans., abr. iv, 173. 
Account of the Great Hailstorm in Hertfordshire. By Robert 

Taylor. Phil. Trans., abr. iv, 172. 
Effects of a Violent Storm on the Rivers of North America. 

Mr. Scarbrough. — Phil. Trans., abr. iv, 198. 
A prognostication concerning the Frost. By M. Cassini, the French 

King's Astrologer, translated from the French. London. 4to. 

M. &eo. Domen. Cassini was the famous French Astronomer. 
Concerning an Extraordinary Inundation of the Island of Mauritius. 

By Nicholas Witzen. — Phil. Trans. 
Account of what Rain fell in the years 1697-98; with some 

Observations on the Weather. By Richard Townley. — Phil. Trans., 

abr. iv, 350. 
The Storm ; or a collection of the most remarkable casualties which 

happened in the Tempest. Daniel de Foe. 
On the storm ; a Sermon on Psalm xlviii, 8. By Reverend John 

Cockburn, D.D., Rector of Northaw, Middlesex. 
Observations on the late Great Storm. By Wm. Derham, D.D., 

Canon of Windsor. — Phil. Trans., abr. iv, 93. 
Observations on the Weather for several years. By the same. Ibid., 60. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <&c. — Contd, 














Account of the Weather for 1699. Phil. Trans., abr. iv, 483. 

Poem on the late Storm. John Crabb. London, folio. 

A strange effect of the late Storm in Sussex. By John Fuller, Esq., 
— Phil. Trans. , abr. v, 91. 

A Fast Sermon on the Great Storm, on Psalm lxxxix, 32. By Rev. 
John Griffith, Edensor, Derbyshire. 

Fast for the Storm ; on Joel ii, 12 — 13. By John Hoadby, Arch- 
bishop of Armagh. Norwich. 4to. 

Sermon on the Great Storm, on John iii, 8. By Joseph Hussey, 
Pastor of Cambridge. 4to. 

Fast for the late Storm ; on Psalm cxix, 120. Bey. Thos. Ley, M. A. 
Vicar of Crechton, Devon. 4to. 

Sermon on the late Storm ; on Isaiah xxvi, 9. By Rey. Thos. Manning, 
Bishop of Chichester. 

Discourse on the late Storm; on "Rev. xvi, 9. By Rey. Symon 
Patrick, afterwards Bishop of Ely. 12 mo. 

A Fast Sermon for a Storm ; on Hosea viii, 7. By Benjn. Grosvenor, 
D.D., Dissenting Divine. 

A Fast Sermon for Storm ; on Isaiah xxix, 6. By Rev. W. Harris, 

Experiments to show the cause of the descent of mercury in the 
barometer in a storm. By Francis Hauksbee, F.R.S. — Phil. Trans., 
abr. v, 147. 

Account of an Earthquake in the North of England. By Ralph 
Thoresby, F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. iv, p. 104. 

Raconto Istorico de Terremotti sentite in Roma, e in parte delle 
Stato Ecclesiastico e in altri luoghi la sera de' 14 di Gennajo, e la 
mattina de' 2 di Febbrajo dell 1 anno 1753. By Lue Antonio 
Chracas. Rome, 1704. 4to. 

An Account of a Storm of Rain that fell at Denbigh in Wales. — Phil. 
Trans., abr. v, p. 331. 

Concerning the effects of a Storm of Thunder and Lightning at 
Colchester. By Jos. Nelson. — Phil. Trans., abr. v, 432. 

Miscellaneous Reflections occasion* d by the Comet which appeared in 

December, 1680, chiefly tending to explode Popular Superstitions. 

Written to a Doctor of the Sorbon[ne] by Mr. JBayle. Translated 

from the French. To which is added the Author* s Life. In 2 vols. 

London : printed for J. Morphen, near Stationers* Hall, mdccviii. 

In the Table of Contents of these volumes occur (inter alia) the fol- 
lowing sections : — 9. " First reason against the presages of Comets, 
that 'tis very probable that they have no virtue to produce anything 
upon earth." 14. " That the exhalations of the comets, even allow- 
ing they might reach as far as the earth, could produce no effect 
there." 16. " That if comets had the power of producing anything 
at all upon earth, they might as well produce good as evil." 17. 
" That Astrology, which is the foundation of particular predictions 
from the Comets, is most ridiculous." 23. "That shou'd it be 
granted that Comets are always succeeded by signal Calamity's, yet 
we cou'd not therefore infer that they have been either the signs or 
the causes of these Calamities." 24. " 'Tis false that more Evils 
have happen'd in the years next succeeding Comets than in other 
years." 29. "What are we to say in answer to those who bring 
examples to prove the presages of Comets." 35. "The year whicb 
succeeded the Comets of 1665, compar'd with the years preceding 
the Comet of 1652." 45. "That the general persuasion is of no 
weight to prove the Evil Influence of Comets." 50. " The super- 
stition of the Antients as to Eclipses." 56. "What has been said 
of Eclipses apply' d to Comets." 57. " If Comets were the presages 
of Calamity's, God must have wrought Miracles for this Confirma- 
tion of Idolatry." 60. " A strange consequence which must follow 

?6 Walford — On the Famines of 

Table VIZ— Literature of Earthquakes, Cornell, Storms, •te.—Conld. 

Miecellaneout Reflections — Contd. 

1708 from Comets being miraculously produced." 72. " That the reasons 

why Comets cou'd not be the presages of Evil before the Coming 
of Jesus Christ subsist still, 74. " That Comets have particular 
characters upon 'em, which show they are not presages." 76. " 'Tia 
false that people who are happy after the appearance of Comets, 
have merited this distinction by their repentance." 79. " That 
the common opinion of Comets being the presages of Evil is an old 
Pagan Superstition, introdue'd and entertain'd among Christians by 
their prejudice for antiquity." 84. " How Christians came to be 
under the same prejudice as the Heathens with regard to Comets." 
95. " That when they make Comets the presages of the Death of 
Kings, they ne'er distinguish the Deaths which are prejudiced from 
those which are otherwise." 102. "First objection against the 
argument from Religion : God has form'd Comets, that the Pagans 
might acknowledge a Providence, and not fall into atheism." 194. 
" That there's no example proving God has miraculously form'd 
prodigy's for the pretended conversion of any one to idolatry." 
203. " Comets are produe'd without a miracle. God might work 
miracles among Infidels. God design' d to make himself known by 
tbe means of Comets. All acts of idolatry occasioned by Comets 
will render man more inexcusable." 204. " If Comets were signs 
of what happens after their appearance, 'tis necessary they shou'd 
be miraculously form'd." 205. " A list of several hypotheses which 
may be follow d in reasoning on Comets." 206. " That neither of 
these hypotheses discovers any natural connection between the 
Comete and what happens upon Earth after their appearance." 
215. " A way of conceiving Comets to be presages without being 
miracles." 217. " That if Comets were miracles, they'd be of such 
a kind as God never vouchsafes to Infidels." 220. " The sight of a 
Comet renders us not more capable of knowing the nature of God." 
220. " 'Tis false that the true Gentiles were render'd inexcusable in 
not being converted to the true God by the sight of Comets." 
229. " That 'tis impossible Comets shou'd be the efficient cause of 
the Calamity's they are supposed to presage." 233. " That the 
characters of true miracles belong not to Comets." 237- " That 
Comete have no part in exciting the passions which cause the diver- 
sity of events." 239. " Remarks showing that to make a i udgment 
of what shall happen after the appearance of Comets, there's no 
need of considering these Stars, and that 'tis sufficient to have an 
eye to the situation of general affairs to the Inclinations and 
Interests of Princes. An Essay of this method on the Comet of 
1618, and that of 1681.'* 

"It is curious to be obliged to remember that the author of this 
Treatise was and is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers 
France has produced H 

Winter Meditations on Frost and Snow ; on Psalm cxlvii, 15 — 18. A 
sermon. By John Shower. 

On the Great Frost of the Winter of 1709. By. Wm. Derham, 
D.D., F.R.S.— Phil. Tram., abr. v,563. 

Comparison of the Weather and Bain at Zurich and Upminster (in 
Essex). By the same. Djid., 497. 

An Account of some Inundations, Monstrous Births, Appearances in 
the Heavens, 4c. By Peter le Neve, F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. v, 485. 

Thanksgiving Sermons after the Storm ; on John v, 14. By 
Rev. Elisha Smith, M.A. Lectures of Wishbeach. 

Account of the Rain which falls every year at Upminster, Essex, for 
eighteen years. William Derham, D.D., F.B.S.— Phil. Tratu., 

the World: Past and Present 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <&c. — Contd. 













Meteorological Essays, concerning the Origin of Springs, Generation 
of Bain, and Production of Wind, with an account of the Tide. 
Edward Barlow. London. 8vo. 

Account of a Fiery Meteor, seen in Jamaica to strike the Earth. On 
the weather, Earthquakes, &c., of that Island. By Henry Barham. 
Phil. Trans. , ahr. vi, p. 368. 

On a violent Shower of Bain in Yorkshire. By Ralph Thoreshy, F.R.S. 
Phil. Trans., abr. vi, 585. 

Observations on a Comet, made at Witham in Essex. By the 
Hon. Lord Paisley. — Phil. Trans., vii, 15. 

Dissertation sur les Tremblemens de Terre, et les Epidemics qu'ils 
occasionnent. By M. Charles Bagard, eminent French physician. 

Curious and Uncommon Account of the Great Eclipse of the Moon, 
10th October, 1725, with a new Theory of all the Orbs in the 
Heavens ; also the Poetical Adventures and Translations of five 
months and odd days at the Rural Seat of Mons. de l'Avon. 8vo. 

At an Earthquake at Dartmouth in Kent. By Edmund Barrell. 
— Phil. Trans. , abr. vii, p. 176. 

Account of an Earthquake at Boston, New England. By Rev. 
Benjamin Coleman. — Phil. Trans., abr. vii, p. 348. 

Account of the Hurricane, May 20, 1729. Richard Bugden. 
London. 8vo. 

A Physico-chymical Explanation of Subterranean Fires, Earthquakes, 
&c. By M. Lemery of the Academy of Sciences, Paris. ? date. 

A vindication of the Testimony of Phlegon, or an account of the 
Great Darkness and Earthquake at our Saviour's Passion described 
by Phlegon, in answer to a Dissertatian of Dr. Sykes upon that 
Eclipse and Earthquake. By William Whiston, an English divine. 

Account of some Remarkable Frosts. William Derham, D.D., F.R.S. 
— Phil. Trans., abr. vii, 448. 

The General History of Earthquakes ; being an account of the most 
Remarkable and Tremendous Earthquakes that have happened in 
divers parts of the World, from the creation to this Time ; as they 
are recorded by Sacred and Common Authors ; and particularly 
those lately in Naples, Smyrna, Jamaica, and Sicily. With a 
description of the famous burning Mount, Etna, in that Island ; 
and the relations of the several dreadful Conflagrations and Fiery 
Irruptions thereof for many ages. Likewise the Natural and 
Material Causes of Earthquakes, and the usual signs and prog- 
nosticks of their approach ; and the Consequences and Effects that 
have followed several of them. By R. B. [urton]. London. 
Printed for A. Battesworth, in Paternoster Row, and J. Hodges, on 
London Bridge, mdcoxxxiv. 

On a Storm ; a Sermon on John iii, 8. By Andrew Gifford, D.D., 
F.S.A. 8vo. 

Account of several Earthquakes that have happened in New 
England. By Paul Dudley, F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. viii, p. 22. 

Account of the Earthquake at Havan in Sussex. By Dr. Edward 
Bayly. — Phil. Trans., abr. viii, 96. 

General History of Earthquakes. Burton. 

Account of the Shock of an Earthquake fell in Sussex, 25th October, 
1734. By Rev. Joseph Wasse. — Phil. Trans., abr. viii, 96. 

On the same subject. Ibid., p. 98. 

The Astronomical Year, or an account of the many remarkable 
Celestial Phenomena of the great year 1736 ; particularly of the 
Comet, which was foretold by Sir Isaac Newton, and came 
accordingly. By Wm. Whiston, an English Divine. London, 8vo. 

Some Considerations of the causes of Earthquakes. By Stephen 
Hales, D.D., F.R.S. London. 8vo. 


Walfoed — On the Famines of 

Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <&c. — Contd. 

















Concerning an Earthquake at Naples. By Hon. Henry Temple. 
Phil Trans., abr. viii, p. 401. 

Of the Volcanoes and Earthquakes in Peru. By M. Peter Bougner 
of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris. 

An Earthquake at Scarborough, 29th December, 1787. By Maurice 
Johnson. — Phil. Trans., abr. viii, 614. 

A Journal of the Shocks of Earthquakes felt near Newburg, in New 
England, from the year 1727 to the year 1741. By Rev. Matthias 
Plant. — Phil. Trans., abr. yiii, p. 662. 

The Natural History of Volcanoes and Earthquakes. By M. Buffon, 
of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris. Also Theory of the 
Earth. 1744. 

On the Weather in South Carolina, &c. By John Lining, M.D.— 
— Phil. Trans., abr. ix. 514. 

Particular Relation of the Dreadful Earthquake which happened at 
Lima and at the Neighbouring port of Calloa, on the 28th October, 
1746, to which is added a description of Calloa and Lima, before 
their destruction ; and of the kingdom of Peru in general, with all 
its inhabitants. London. 8vo. 

A surprising inundation in the valley of St. John's, near Keswick, in 
Cumberland, 22nd August, 1749. By John Look, F.R.S.— Phil. 
Trans., abr. x, 18. 

Sermon on the Earthquake, from Job. ix, 5, 6. By Samuel Chandler, 
D.D. London. 8vo. 

The Natural and Moral Government and Agency of God in causing 
Droughts and Rains ; on Psalm cvii, 83 — 86. A Sermon by Thomas 
Prince, M.A., Pastor of South Church, Boston, New England. 8vo. 

On the occasion of a second shock of an Earthquake ; a Sermon on 
Matt, xi, 23, 24. By Rev. Philip Doddridge. 8vo. 

On the Earthquakes, on Amosiv, 12. By Rev. John Mason, M. A. 8vo. 

List of Earthquakes felt in England and other Countries, with their 
dates, &c. By Cromwell Mortimer, M.D., Secretary of Royal 
Society. — Phil. Trans., abr. x, p. 108. 

On the Hot Weather in July, 1760. By William Arderon, F.R.S.— 
Phil. Trans., abr. x, 94. 

Letter to the Clergy and People of Westminster, on occasion of the 
late Earthquakes. By Thomas Sherlock, D.D. London. 4to. 

Some thoughts occasioned by the late Earthquakes. By Benjamin 
Stillingfleet, Naturalist. London. 4 to. 

The Philosophy of Earthquakes, Natural and Religious. By Wm. 
Stukley, M.D., F.R.8. London. 8vo. 

A Dissertation on Earthquakes. Roberts. 

Juliana ; or, a Discourse concerning the Earthquakes and Fiery 
Eruptions which defeated the Emperor's attempt to Rebuild the 
Temple at Jerusalem. By Wm. Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester. 
London. 8vo. 

A Genuine Account of Earthquakes, especially that of Oxford in the 
year 1695 [corrected in ink to 1683], and of another terrible one at 
Fort-Royal, in Jamaica, in the year 1692, giving an account of the 
Nature and Cause of them, their dire Effects, and destructive 
Faculties ; their Desolation and Depopulation : published for the 
Information and Instruction of the public in general, and collected 
from the best authors, and personal witnesses to the several fatal 
Occurrences. London. Printed for Henry Slater, at the Golden- 
key, the comer of Clare Court, in Drury-Lane. kdcol. 

Account of an Earthquake at Constantinople. By Murdoch Mac- 
kenzie, M.D. — Phil. Trans., abr. x, 648. 

A Poem in Blank Verse, on a Violent Storm, attended with Thunder 
and Lightning j to which is added a Poem on Death, Ac. Palmera. 
By Edward Stevens. London. 8vo. is. 6d. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, Sc. — Contd. 










On the quantity of Bain which fell at Leyden in the year 1751. By 

Wm. Van Hazen. — Phil. Trans., ahr. x, 233. 
Of a Storm of Thunder and Lightning in Cornwall. By Wm. 

Borlase, LL.D., F.R.S.— Phil. Trans. 
On the quantity of Rain which fell at Charlestown in South Carolina, 

from January, 1738, till December, 1752. By John Lining, M.D. 

— Phil. Trans., abr. x. 400. 
Observations on the late severe cold weather. By Wm. Orderon, 

F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. x, 454. 
Of an Earthquake felt at York. By David Erskine Baker. — PhiL 

Trans., abr. ix, 597. 
Of the Earthquake at Cadiz in 1755. By Benjamin Bewick. — PhiL 

Trans., abr. x, 662. 
An Account of the Earthquakes which happened in Barbary, Ac. 

Lord Viscount Royston, F.R.S. — Phil. Trans., abr. x, 663. 
Agitation of the Waters in Cornwall. By Wm. Borlase, LL.D., 

F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. x, 653. 
Of the Earthquakes felt at Brussels. By Sir John Fringle, Bart., 

M.D.— Phil. Trans., abr. x, p. 696. 
On the agitation of the Waters, 1st November, 1755, in Scotland and 

at Hamburgh. By the same. — Ibid., p. 697. 
Serious Thoughts on the late Earthquake, &c. A Letter from a 

Portuguese Officer to a Friend in Paris, giving an account of the 

late Dreadful Earthquake, by which the City of Lisbon was 

destroyed. Translated from the Portuguese. London. Cooper. 
Account of an Earthquake felt at Glasgow and Dumbarton ; also of 

a shower of Dust falling on a Ship between Shetland and Iceland. 

By Robert Whytt, M.D., F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. x, p. 687. 
An Account of an Earthquake felt in the Lead Mines in Derbyshire, 

1st Nov., 1755. By Rev. Wm. Bullock.— Phil. Trans., abr. x, p. 656. 
Similar Accounts from various parts of the Island, by different hands. 

Of the late Earthquakes. By Mons. Vernede, Pastor of the Wallon 

Church, at Mastricht. — Phil. Trans., abr. xi, 8. 
Account of the Earthquake at Madeira. By Charles Chambers. 

—Phil. Trans., abr. x. 665. 
Earthquake in Philadelphia. By Peter Collinson, F.R.S. — Phil. 

Trans., abr. x, p. 667. 
A Philosophical Discourse upon Earthquakes, their causes and 

consequences, &c. London. Cooper. 
Of an impression on a stone dug up in the Island of Antigua, and the 

Quantity of Rain fallen there for four years. By Rev. Francis 

Byam. — Phil. Trans., abr. x, 628. 
Of the Earthquake felt 18th February, 1756, along the Coast of 

England between Margate and Dover. By Samuel Warren. — Phil. 

Trans., abr. x, 703. 
Earthquake in Geneva. By Charles Bownell, F.R.Jf. — Phil. Trans., 

abr. x, 687. 
A Further Account of Memorable Earthquakes to the present year 

1756 ; wherein is inserted a short and faithful relation of the late 

dreadful calamity at Lisbon ; together with an abstract of Father 

Goree's Narrative of the Rise of a New Island in the Bay of 

Santorini in the Archipelago, in the year 1707. Being a continuation 

of a Tract entitled " A Chronological and Historical account of the 

most memorable Earthquakes which have happened in the world 

from the beginning of the Christian period to the year 1750." To 

which is added, by way of appendix, " A particular Account upon 

Auto-de-Fe, or act of Faith, at Lisbon. Taken from an author 

of good credit, who was himself an eye-witness thereof. By a 

Gentleman of the University of Cambridge." 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <&c. — Contd. 


1756 . 






















On the Fast on account of the Earthquake at Lisbon ; on Luke xiii, 

2, 4, 5. Rev. Thos. Alcock, M.A. Oxon. 8vo. 
A Sermon on the Earthquake ; G-enesis xix, 14. Bey. John Allen. 

Two Sermons on the Doctrine of the Divine Visitation by Earth 

quakes ; on Isaiah xxix, 6. By E-ev. Wm. Dodwell. Oxford. 
On the Earthquake at Lisbon; on Ezekiel xxvi, 17, 18. Charles 

Bulkley, Dissenting Minister. 
On Earthquakes; a Fast Sermon, on Psalm xviii, 7. By Wm. 

Stukley, M.D., F.R.S. 8vo. 
A Fast Sermon on the Earthquake ; Luke xiii, 4, 5. Rev. Thomas 

Anguish, M.A., Deptford, 8vo. 
Fast Sermon for Earthquake, on Luke xii, 4, 5. Rev. Wm. Bearcroft, 

M.A., Chaplain to the Lord Mayor. 
Fast Sermon on the Earthquake, on Luke xiii, 5. 8vo. 
On the late Earthquake, &e. : a Sermon on Jeremiah xviii, 7, 8. 

By a Rev. Divine. 4to. 
Fast for Earthquake, on Ecclesiastes xxxvi, 26. Rev. Wm. Totten, 

Fast for Earthquake, on 1 Peter, v. 6. By the same. 
Fast Sermon, occasioned by the Earthquake at Lisbon ; on 

Hebrews xi, 7. Rev. Job. Orton, Eminent Dissenting Minister. 
Serious call to Repentance : a Fast Sermon on the Earthquake, in 

Romans xi, 22. Rev. John Pennington, M.A., Prebendary of Lincoln. 
Fast Sermon on the Earthquake ; on Jeremiah xvii, 6 — 8. Rev. 

Gloucester Ridley, D.D., Canon of Salisbury. 
Earthquake, Fast Sermon : Psalm cxxvii, 2. Rev. Arnold King, 

LL.B. Chaplain to the Lord Mayor. 4to. 
Earthquake ; a Fast Sermon, on Psalm xlvi, 8. Rev. G-eo. Lavington, 

Bishop of Exeter. 
Prayers for a time of Earthquakes and Violent floods. Rev. James 

Meyrick, M.A. English Divine and Poet. 
A Fast for Earthquake, on Jeremiah xviii, 7. By James Hallifax, 

D.D., F.R.S. 4to. 
Fast Sermon, on the Earthquake, on Luke xiii, 2, 3. By Rev. James 

How, M.A. 8vo. 
Earthquake : a Fast Sermon, on Isaiah xxvi, 20. Rev. J. Kidgell, 

A.M., Rector of Home, Surrey. 8vo. 
Earthquake : a Fast Sermon, on Matthew x, 29. Rev. James Kilner, 

M.A., Rector of Leydon, Essex. 4to. 
The Theory and History of Earthquakes, containing, I. A rational 

Account of their causes and effects ; illustrated by experiments and 

observations on subterraneous vapours, and the manner of making 

artificial Earthquakes. II. A particular and authentic History of 

those which have happened in these kingdoms, and the more 

remarkable of those abroad, viz., in Sicity, Jamaica, and Lima, with 

the most considerable eruption of Vesuvius and Etna. III. 

Some seasonable reflections on the two late Earthquakes, with 

a pathetic address on that occasion to the Inhabitants of London and 

Westminister. Humbly inscribed to the Right Rev. Thomas Lord 

Bishop of Canterbury. A pamphlet, pp. 62, with one leaf appendix. 
Plain account of the causes of Earthquakes ; being a supplement to 

the Treatise on Fire. By John Ficke, F.R.S. London. 8vo. 
The General Theory and Phenomena of Earthquakes and Vulcanoes, 

&c. ; to which is added a particular history of the Lisbon Earth- 
quake. By an ingenious gentleman who was an eye-witness of that 

tremendous calamity. London. Owen. 
A plain account of the cause of Earthquakes ; being a supplement 

to a Treatise lately published on Fire. By the same author. 

London. 8vo. 

the World : Past and Present 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <&c. — Contd. 













The late Dreadful Earthquakes no proof of God's particular wrath 
against the Portuguese ; a East Sermon on Luke xiii, 4, 5. 
Rev. Thomas Seward, Canon of Litchfield. London. 8vo. 

A Satirical Review of the Manifold Falsehoods and Absurdities 
hitherto published concerning the Earthquake ; to which is annexed 
an authentic Account of the late catastrophe at Lisbon, and the 
present state of that august Capital. By a Man of Business. 
London. 8vo. 

Of an Earthquake felt at Cologne, Liege, Maastricht, &c, on 
19 November, 1756. By Abraham Trembley, E.R.S.— Phil. Trans., 
abr. xi, 56. 

On Earthquakes, Polypes, Fossils, &c. By the same, Ibid., 83. 

The Christian's Duty and Confidence in times of Public Calamity ; 
being four Discourses occasioned by the late Dreadful Earthquakes, 
and the apprehensions of a French War. Rev. Benjamin Wallis, A.M., 
Minister of the G-ospel in London. 

Thoughts on the Earthquake which was felt on the 9th December, 
1755, in Switzerland. By John George Zimmerman. 4to. 

A Treatise on Places and Preferments, especially Church Preferments, 
with a Letter concerning the causes of Earthquakes. By Rev. 
William Webster, D.D. London. 8vo. 

Of the Earthquake felt in New England and the neighbouring parts 
of America, November 18, 1755. Prof. John Winthorp, Cam- 
bridge, Mass. — Phil. Trans., abr. viii, 713. 

The History and Philosophy of Earthquakes, from the remotest to 
the present time, collected from the best writers on the subject ; 
with a particular account of the Phenomena of the great one of 
November the 1st, 1755, in various parts of the globe. By 
a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin. London. Nourse. 
8vo. 5*. 

Chronological Account of Earthquakes. By Rev. Zachary Grey. 

An Account of the remarkable Comet whose appearance is expected 
at the end of this present year 1757, or at the beginning of 1758, 
&c. The whole illustrated with reflections on the General Con- 
flagration, &c. London. 8vo. is. 

A Discourse on Comets ; containing a brief description of the true 
system of the world, and an enumeration of all the discoveries 
which have been made yet concerning these temporary appearances. 
By John Todge Cowly, F.R.S., Mathematician. 8vo. \s. 

The Theory of Comets, illustrated, in four parts : 1. An Essay on the 
Natural History and Philosophy of Comets, being the substance of 
all that has hitherto been published on the subject ; 2. Tables con- 
taining the elements of the Theory of a Comet's motion ; 3. The 
method of constructing the Orbit of any Comet, and computing its 
place therein; the method of Delineating the visible path of a 
Comet in the Heavens, on the surface of a celestial globe. The 
whole adapted to and exemplified in the orbit of the Comet of the 
year 1682, whose return is now at hand. By Benjamin Martin, 
Optician and Mathematician. London. 4to. . zs. 6d. 

Dissertatio de Frigore quatenus Morborum causa. By William 
Butter, M.D. Edinburgh. 8vo. 

Of an Earthquake felt at Lingfield, Surrey. By Sir James Burrow, 
F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xi, 235. 

Observations on a slight Earthquake, though very particular, which 
may lead to the cause of great and violent ones, that ravage whole 
countries and overturn cities. By Sieur de Peysonncl, M.D. — 
Phil. Trans,, abr. xi, 245. 

On a Storm of Thunder and Lightning at Norwich. By Samuel 
Cooper. — Phil. Trans., abr. xi, 327. 


Walford — On Hie Famines of 

Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, <£c. — Contd. 










'67 ..... 


9 67 

\58 .«.»-.! 

An Explication of the causes of Earthquakes. By Edward Wortley 

Accounts of the Fiery Meteor which appeared on November 6th, 

1768, between 8 and 9 at night. By Sir John Pringle, Bart., M.D. 

— Phil. Trans. 
Oratio de Generatione Metallorum, &c. ; or, a Treatise on the Gene- 
ration of Metals by Earthquakes. By Zomonozof, a celebrated 

Russian Poet. 
Of the late Earthquakes in Syria. By Dr. Patrick Bussell, M.D., 

F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., xi, 437. 
Observations on the Comet seen in January, 1760. By John Michel, 

B.D., F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xi, 428. 
Conjectures concerning the Cause and Observations on the Phenomena 

of Earthquakes, particularly on the Earthquake at Lisbon, Novem- 
ber 1st, 1755. By the same. Ibid., 447. 
Of a Meteor seen in New England, and of a Whirlwind felt in 

that Country. By Prof.' John Winthrop. — Phil. Trans., abr. xi, 

Description of the Comet which appeared in 1744. By Zomonozof, 

the Russian Poet. 
On the Phenomena of the Air, occasioned by the Electrical Fire, 

with a Latin Translation of the same. By the same. 
On the Origin of Metals by means of Earthquakes. By the 

The two Hydraulic Performances relative to the Preservation of 

the Provinces of Ferrara and Ravenna from the Inundation of 

Rivers. By Paul Frisi, Philosopher and Mathematician. Lucca, 

Of an Earthquake at Chattigaon. By Edward Gkilston. — Phil. Trans., 

abr. xii, 12, 13. 
Of the Earthquake in Siberia. By Weymaru.— PhO. Trans., 

abr. xii, 3. 
On the Rain fallen in a Square Foot at Norwich. By Rev. Wm. 

Arderon, F.RS.— Phil. Trans., abr. xi, 67a 
A Description of a Storm that happened in the month of August, 

1763. By Rev. John Hodges, Vicar of Tudily and Capella, Kent. 

London. 4to. 
Theory of Lightning and Thunderstorms. By Andrew Oliver, Esq., 

of Salem, Mass. — Trans. Amrr. Soc., ii, 74. 
Theory of Waterspouts. By the same. Ibid., 101. 
Of several Fiery Meteors seen in North America. By Prof. John 

Winthrop.— PhiL Trans., abr. xii, 142. 
Rhenus. By Manuel Lassala, a Spanish ex-Jesuit and Scholar. The 

subject of this Latin Poem is the inundations of the Rhine. Yalentia; 

also Bologna, 1781. 
Thoughts on Comets, By Prof. John Winthrop.— Pitf. Trans., 

abr. xii, 405. 
Concerning Wind and Waterspouts, Tornadoes and Hurricanes. 

By John Morgan, M.D. — Trams. Amer. Soc.. ii, 335. 
Sermon, occasioned by the Earthquake. By the Right Rev. Beilly 

Porteus, afterwards Bishop of London. Clarks. 12mo. 
On the historv of the return of the famous Comet of 16S2 ; with 

observations on the same. By Matthew Maty, M.D., Secretary of 

Royal Society. — Pi**. IYywwu abr. xii, 263. 
A new Theory of Comets (Laws of Motion). Ac ; plainly showing 

that they are not solid, compact, fixed, and durable bodies, like 

those of the Planets, but that they are Solar Meteors or exhalations 

of the same nature with our smoke, which nying to a certain 

distance from the sun, thicken or draw together such a mass, that 

at last their own gravity forces them back into it* blase, where they 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, &c. — Contd. 














A new Theory of Comets — Contd. 
no sooner arrive than they take fire, and are violently thrown off in 
right lines through the Universe, till their own flames have exhausted 
their substance. By Michael Wood, F.R.S. London. 8vo. i*. 

An account of an Earthquake at Macao, and a short description of a 
singular description of Monkeys without Tails, found in the 
interior part of Bengal. By Stephen de Visme. — Phil. Trans., 
abr. xii, 607. 

Fall of Bain at Bridgewater and at Mounts Bay, 1769. By Wm. 
Borlase, LL.D., F.R.S. — Phil. Trans., abr. xii, 46. The same as 
Mounts Bay 1770-71.— Phil. Trans., abr. xiii, 126 and 325. 

Of the different Quantities of Bain which appear to fall at different 
heights, over the same spot of ground. By Wm. Heberden, M.D. 
— Phil. Trans., abr. x, 659. 

Method of determining the strength and duration of Earthquakes. 
Dr. David Wark, Minister. of Haddington. Essays, Phys. and 
Lit., iii, p. 142. 

Fall of Bain at different heights. The Hon. Daines Barrington. 
— Phil. Trans., abr. xiii. 

The Inundation ; or the Life of a Fenman. A Poem ; with Notes, cri- 
tical and explanatory. By a Fen Parson. London. Baldwin. 4to. i*. 

The principal Elements, or primary particles of Bodies inquired 
into, and found to be neither those of the Chemists, nor of the 
Natural Philosophers; but Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Frost. 
Taken from the observance of nature and numerous experiments. 
London. 8vo. is. 6d. 

Sermon on an Earthquake in Shropshire. By Rev. John Fletcher, 
Vicar of Madilv, Yorks. London. 8vo. i*. 

On the effects of a Thunderstorm on the House of Lord Tylney, at 
Naples. By Sir Wm. Hamilton, F.R.S. — Phil. Trans., abr. xiii, 
453. (See 1783.) 

In the Phil. Trans, of abdut this period will be found numerous 
papers by this nobleman on the Eruption of Vesuvius, &c. 

The Naturalist's Calendar. By the Hon. Daines Barrington. Contains 
an account of the Wars, Plagues, Earthquakes, Floods, Conflagra- 
tions, Thunder and Lightning, &c, which happened from the 
creation of the world to a.d. 416. 

There was reprinted by Wm. Benson Earle, from a scarce pamphlet, 
an exact relation of the famous Earthquake and Eruption of Mount 
Etna in 1669 ; to which is added a Letter from himself to Lord 
Lyttleton, containing a description of the late Great Eruption of 
Mount Etna in 1766. London. 8vo. 

Observations made during the late Frost at Northampton. By 
Anthony Fothergill, M.D.,p\R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xiv, 116. 

Account of the late Earthquake felt at Manchester. By Thomas 
Percival, M.D., F.R.S— Phil. Trans., abr. v, 201. 

An Account of an Earthquake felt at Manchester and other places. 
By Thos. Henry, F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xiv, 330. 

The Universal System ; or, Mechanical causes of all the appearances 
and movements of the Visible Heavens ; shewing the true powers 
that move the Earth and Planets in their Central Rotation. With 
a Dissertation on Comets, the nature, cause, matter, and use of their 
tails, and the reason of their long trajectories. Likewise an attempt 
to prove what it is that moves the Sun round its Axis. By John 
Lacy* London. 8vo. i*. 

Memoire sur un Paratremblement, &c., or, a Memoir concerning a 
Counter-Earthquake and a Counter- Volcano. By St. Lazare de 
Bertholon, a French Philosopher. [The author considered he had 
devised a method of preventing these convulsions in the bowels of 
the earth !] 


Walfoed— On the Famines of 

Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, Sc. — Contd. 











# 88 


An History of Jamaica and Barbadoes; with an Account of the 

Lives lost, and the damages sustained in each island by the late 

Hurricane, &c. London. 8vo. 
A General Account of the Calamities occasioned by 'the late 

Tremendous Hurricanes and Earthquakes in the West India 

Islands, &c. By Wm. Fowle, M.D. London. 8vo. i*. 6d. 
Account of an Earthquake at Hafodunas, near Denbigh. By John 

Loyd, F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xi, 151. 
Account of several Earthquakes felt in Wales. By Thomas Pennant, 

LL.D., F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xv, 85. 
Account of the violent storm of Lightning at East-Bourne in Sussex. 

By Owen Salisbury Breraton. — Phil. Trans., abr. xv, 21. 
Fatal effects of a Thunderstorm in Scotland. By Patrick Brydone, 

F.R.S.-PM. Trans., abr. xvi, 186. 
The PhoBnix ; or, Reasons for believing that the Comet is the real 

Phoenix of the Ancients. By John Goodridge. London. 8vo. 3*. 
On a new kind of Rain. From the Italian of Chev. Joseph GKoeni, 

" an inhabitant of the third region of Mount Etna." — Phil. Trans., 

abr. xv, 165. 
Quantity of Rain which fell at Barrowby, near Leeds. By George 

Lloyd, Esq., F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xv, 193. 
M. Dolomicu, a French Mineralogist. Pub. Voyage aux Isles de 

Lipari, fait en 1781, ou Notices sur les jEoliennes, pour servir a 

l'Histoire des Volcanos. Paris. 8vo. [Herein he gives a 

particular account of their Volcanoes.] 
Also Memoire sur le tremblemens de terre de la Calabri. (This was 

in 1784 translated into Italian.) 
Of the Earthquakes which happened in Italy from February to May, 

1783. By Sir Wm. Hamilton, F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. xv, 373. 

(See 1773). 
Account of the Earthquake in Calabria, March 28, 1783. By Count 

Francesco Ippolito. — Phil. Trans., abr. xv, 383. 
Of a remarkable Frost on the 23rd June, 1783. By Rev. Sir 

John Cullum, Bart., Antiquary. — Phil. Trans., abr. xv, 604. 
De effectibus Terrae'Motus in Compore Humano ; concerning the 

Effects of Earthquakes on the Human body. Bologna. 8vo. 
On the Crooked and Angular appearance of Lightning in Thunder- 
storms. By James Logan, a Scotchman, residing in America. — 

Phil. Trans., abr. viii, 68. 
Advertisement of the expected return of the Comet of 1532 and 

1661, in 1788. By Nevil Maskelyne, D.JX, F.R.S., astronomer. — 

Phil. Trans., abr. xvi, 147. 
The Theory of Rain. By James Hutton, M.D., F.R.S.E.— Trans. 

Soc. Edin., i, 41 (in 1792). 
An Account of the Hurricane at Barbadoes on the 10th October, 

1780. By William Blendy.— Ed. Phil. Trans., i, part first, 30. 
The Frost ; a Little Poem for Great Folks. London. Buckland. 

8vo. 6d. 
Sermon preached in the Low Chapel of North Shields, in the 

County of Northumberland, November 22, 1789, for the Benefit of 

the Orphans of the Unfortunate Seamen who perished in the 

violent Storm off the East Coast of England, October 30 and 31. 

To which is prefixed an Account of the Gale, and a list of the 

vessels that were wrecked in it. By Rev. L. Girdle, of Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne. London. 8vo. 1*. 
Theory of Rain, Principle of Fire, on the Power of Matter, &c. 

James Hutton, M.D., F.R.S.E. Edinburgh. 4to. 
A narrative of an Earthquake felt in Lincolnshire and the neigh- 
bouring Counties. By Edmund Turner, F.R.S. — Phil. Trans., 

abr., xvii, 220. 

the World : Past and Present 


Table VII. — Literature of Earthquakes, Comets, Storms, Sc. — Contd. 














Journal of the Thermometer, Hygrometer, Barometer, Winds, and 

Rain, kept at Windsor, Nova Scotia. Rev. William Cochrane. — 

Trans. Irish Acad., ix, 133. 
Account of an Earthquake felt in various parts of England ; 

November 18, 1795. By Edward Whitaker Gray, M.D.— Phil. 

Trans., abr. xviii, 31. 
The Hurricane ; a Theosophical and Western Eclogue. By William 

Gilbert. London. 12mo. 
The Storm ; a Drama. By George Holf ord, M.P. Of this only a 

few copies were printed. 
Frost at Midnight. By S. T. Coleridge. London. 8vo. 
The Dominion of Jesus Christ over the Elements of Nature; a 

Sermon upon the Storm of 1703. By the Eev. Robert Winter, 

D.D. 8vo. 
Curious particulars respecting the Mountains and Volcanoes, and the 

effect of the late Earthquakes in South America, &c. Baron 

Humboldt. — Nicholson's Journ., iii, p. 242. 
Account of a Storm of Salt which fell in January, 1803. By Richard 

Anthony Salisbury, F.R.S. — Trans. Linn. Soc, viii, p. 286. 
Observations on the nature of the new celestial body discovered by 

Dr. Olbers ; and of the Comet which was expected to appear in 

July last, in its return from the Sun. By William Herschel, 

LL.D., F.R.S.— Phil. Trans., abr. 
A Narrative of the proceedings on board His Majesty's ship 

" Tharsus," from the 4th to the 15th September, 1804 ; being an 

account of a Hurricane which she encountered in the Atlantic 

Ocean. Folio. 
The Storm Improved, containing an interesting narrative of the loss 

of the " Liberty," of Kincardine, and the Substance of a Discourse 

delivered to the crews of the several vessels wrecked, with the 

Author, in the neighbourhood of Saltfleet. By John Clunie, A.M. 

A Sermon, occasioned by the appearance of the Comet. By Joseph 

Jefferson, Dissenting Minister, Basingstoke. 8vo. 
A Short Account of the late Inundation in the neighbourhood of 

Boston. By Saml. Partridge, M.A., Vicar of Boston. 12mo. 
Account of the late Earthquake in Scotland. By Thos. Lauder 

Dick, F.R.S.— Annals PhU. f viii, 364. 
The Progress of the Development of the Law of Storms and of 

Variable Winds, with the practical application of the Subject to 

Navigation; illustrated by charts and woodcuts. By Lieut.-Col. 

Wm. Reid, C.B., F.R.S. 
Note. — Mrs. Somerville stated several years since that about 255 

earthquakes had occurred in, the British isles, all slight. To avoid 

the effects of a shock predicted by a madman for the 8th April, 1750, 

thousands of persons, particularly those of rank and fortune, passed 

the night of the 7th in their carriages and in tents in Hyde Park. 

— Vincent. 
A Lecture on the Winds, Ocean Currents, and Tides, and what they 

tell of the System of the World. By Wm. Leighton Jordan, 

Also by same author, same year : The Winds, and their Story of the 


86 Walford — On the Famines of 

Object of Preceding Tables. 

The object of the preceding tables, is manifestly that of 
endeavouring to obtain a complete, or at all events a comprehensive 
view of the causes of famines, so far as they fall within the category 
of being the result of natural or unavoidable causes. We see first 
from an analysis of the table of famines, the causes to which they 
are mainly attributed. We then follow out these causes as a 
separate branch of inquiry. We suppose the facts presented in the 
several tables will act and react upon each other in such a manner 
that the law of famines may be deduced, at all events that the 
extent of cause and effect may be made in some degree apparent. 

For the purpose of this analysis, it is necessary to limit our range 
to some one country. We take our own, for instance, and apply the 
test of frosts. Famines in Great Britain have resulted from severe 
frosts. We take the table of frosts, which I believe contains some- 
thing like a complete record of those which may be regarded as 
historical. From this table we turn to that of famines. Has a 
famine usually resulted from intense frost ? Here we must take into 
account a chronological incident. Under what is now designated 
the " old style," the year did not terminate until 25th March. The 
change took place in 1752, which year began on 1st January. It is 
very important to keep this fact in mind in most chronological 
inquiries. In this instance it is especially so. The frost of one 
year would usually affect the crops of the next year y prior to 1752. 
Where indeed the frost came in very early, so as to affect the 
harvesting of the grain — as is sometimes even now the case in 
North Britain — it might be that the famine would arise in the same 
year as the frost. The same remark will also apply to floods. But 
I need not dwell upon these details : for I am compelled to admit 
that when critically examined in this manner, the facts in the one 
table do not, taken as a whole, at all coincide — to say nothing of 
presenting complete harmony — with those in the other. There are 
some correspondences, but these may be simple coincidences. The 
same admission has to be made with respect to the other tables. If 
vou attempted to produce a table of the famines of Great Britain 
from the combined details of the causes which are usually credited 
as producing famines, you would produce a result almost entirely 
out of harmony with actual recorded facts. 

That this discovery and consequent admission is very discouraging 
after the labour bestowed is but too obvious. But we must not 
abandon all our efforts in despair. The facts presented in the several 
tables as facts are, I hope I may say, of essential value. They have 
not heretofore been presented in our XmniaL To the statistician, 
as to the scientific inquirer, all facts are of value. My duty now is 

the World : Fast and Present. 87 

to endeavour to account for this breakdown of a system of inquiry, 
which I venture to think was logically as also theoretically correct. 
This may have been occasioned by the cumulation of several causes. 
The first and most readily suspected being that the data are incom- 
plete : an incompleteness of data must necessarily imply in-harmony 
of results. The answer on my part is that I have had recourse to 
all known authorities. The next consideration is founded upon the 
well known want of harmony in the chronology of early recorded 
events. You consult any two or three of the early chronicles as to 
the occurrence of any known incident. You will not unfrequently 
find one year's, two years' or even three years' variation in the dates 
of the respective writers, occasionally very much greater and more 
perplexing discrepancies. Before universal calendars, or a settled 
chronology obtained, the mode of computing time was usually by 
reference to the year the reigning sovereign had occupied the 
throne, as third of Richard II, &c, &c. In this manner mistakes 
may well have arisen. We know that such discrepancies have 
existed even as regards the date of particular Acts of Parliament 
— more than one chronological date being assigned to many of our 
more important legislative enactments. Still on the whole even 
these discrepancies may be harmonised, from the circumstance that 
great historical events do not usually happen in such immediate 
proximity, that the one may be mistaken for the other. In the 
use of comparative tables, however, where cause and effect are 
sought to be established, this conflict of dates becomes very 
perplexing, and occasionally entirely misleading. 

Again, in order to a complete understanding of the causes of 
famines in any given country, the operation of the artificial causes, 
as wars (including invasions and blockades), legislation (including 
limitation of imports, extent of import duty, or enforced restric- 
tion of prices). The effect of Pestilences, as resulting from the 
neglect of the laws of public health, may be included in this 
category, although as a rule these latter are the results from 
rather than the occasions of famine. These will be considered in 
the second part of my paper. 

Yet another consideration remains to be presented, and it is this, 
that it is more than probable that very frequently several causes 
combine to produce such a national calamity as famine, I mean a 
combination of natural causes. For instance, frosts following 
seasons of excessive rain, will be far more destructive of all vegeta- 
tion than frost succeeding dry seasons. In this latter case the frost 
often benefits the soil, and advances vegetation by destroying largely 
its insect and reptile antagonists. And here I am disposed to think 
my tables may be of real value, as affording means of comparison 
not otherwise readily available. 

88 Walford — On the Famines of 

I ought indeed at this point to notice the poetic, perhaps I had 
better say the dramatic, or even mythical aspect of the subject. No 
one can be familiar with the old chroniclers, from whom we 
necessarily draw so much of our historical information, without 
being struck with the tendency of these persons to pile up the 
agony, so to speak, on certain great historical occasions. Comets in 
early times occasioned great dread ; eclipses of the sun, or moon, 
were deemed to be direct manifestations of the wrath of the 
Almighty; hurricanes, whirlwinds, waterspouts, were but lesser 
indications of the same divine vengeance; while earthquakes 
formed as it were the grcmde finale to the provocation of erring 
man against his Creator. That the poets should seize upon such 
events to give dramatic effect, and lend force to their creative 
outpourings, is but natural. They often deal with history as 
represented by popular tradition. 

Thus Virgil in his " Greorgics," speaks of comets and eclipses as 
appearing synchronously with great historical events, such as the 
death of Cassar : 


" Sol etiam extincto miscratus Caesare Romam, 
Quum caput ohscura- nitidum ferrugine texit.' 

« # # # # 

" nee diri toties arsere comette." 

which may be rendered : 

u The sun himself on Borne 
Looked down with pitying eye when Caesar fell, 
And hid his face in gloomy shrouds of night.' 


But that the chroniclers, who were mostly ecclesiastics, should 
ever have stooped to exaggerate their narratives with monsters seen 
in the heavens, with showers of blood, with sulphuric emanations, 
with unnatural eclipses, and with other most unreasonable horrors, 
and theso too not unfrequently associated with those historic 
personages who had incurred the displeasure of the Church — which 
perhaps is the only sort of excuse, but can be no justification — seems 
remarkable. It is loading history with a perpetual lie, on the small 
pretext of affording an example to other heretics and offenders! 
It may be replied that the combined miseries of the plagues of 
Egypt, afford at least a precedent for such horrors ; while the sun 
standing still on the command of Joshua, prepares one for all that 
may follow at any time or place. I am not of this opinion, and I 
have accordingly eliminated from my tables as far as possible the 
elements which I regard as purely mythical. Two very mild 
instances of such exaggeration are given, the one under dates 
1382-96 ; the other 1658. 

But while endeavouring to exclude all hypothetical considera- 
tions from my paper, there yet remains to be considered a meteoro- 

the World : Past and Present. 89 

logical solution of famines in various parts of the world, to which I 
have not in any way alluded at present, and this is the " sun-spot " 
theory, which is the most modern of all famine theories, and in the 
further elucidation of which several of the tables included in 
this paper may yet be of value. It will of course be understood 
that in attempting to deal with this, " the newest scientific play- 
" thing " as I have seen it called, I make no pretension to scientific 
knowledge. I shall deal here, as in other parts of the paper, with 
recorded facts, and shall only follow where these may lead. 

Indian Famines. 

In this connection our minds naturally revert to Asia, and more 
particularly to that important empire of India, with which we have 
so much concern. I have endeavoured to make my table of 
famines complete as to India in modern times.* The first great 
famine there of which we have any knowledge — many earlier ones 
of lesser magnitude have occurred — was that of 1769-70, " when the 
" Government did not attempt to cope with the disaster; when the 
" people died of starvation by hundreds of thousands ; and a 
" desolation spread over the country, the marks of which have not 
" wholly ceased." (Vide Col. George Chesney, " Indian Famines in 
" Nineteenth Century," November, 1877.) We see in our table that it 
is estimated that three millions of the population then died of 
starvation, an estimate I am not inclined to deem exaggerated ; and 
we are told that Bengal has been subjected to famines periodically 
since — why since, as distinguished from previously, does not appear. 
In 1799 there was again a famine in Hindustan, and in 1803. In 
1810 there was a famine in the North-West Provinces, and from 
2 to 8 per cent, of the population died, 90,000 in one central district 
alone ! In 1813-14 Hindustan again ; in 1832 in Madras, when 
200,000 perished in the district of Guntoor. In 1837-38 in 
Northern India, "the worst famine of this century " — but this was 
written before the more recent famines we now have to record. In 
1861 famine in North- West Provinces; in 1866, "awful famine " 
in Orissa, one million and a-half of the people, half the population 
of London, reported to have perished. In 1874, the Bengal famine, 
which cost this Government 6\ millions sterling, for an organised 
system of relief; and lastly that of 1877, more terrible perhaps 
than* any during this century, over which our Indian experience 
extends, and which it is estimated will cost in all nearly 10 millions 
sterling ! 

In all there have been thirty-four famines (above twenty on a 

* It is impossible for me to express too fully the obligations I am under to 
Mr. F. C. Danvers of the India Office, for the assistance he has rendered me 
regarding the Famines, and Famine incidents of India. 

90 Walfoed — On the Famines of 

large scale) in India in jnst over a century. I much regret that I 
am not able to present more complete statistical details as to some 
of these. Under the former Government of India, usually known 
as the Company's rule, statistics were not a feature. Many of the 
historical details which I have been able to give in my table of 
famines, are drawn from a most able report, prepared some little 
time since, but not yet made public — much as its facts are needed 
just now — from some State reason, or want of reason, which I 
do not profess to understand. If I had found myself in possession 
of anything like complete meteorological data regarding India,) I 
should have endeavoured to examine the causes of famines in that 
empire in much more detail. 
Mr. F. C. Danvers says : — 

"Famines in India have arises from several different causes; but the most 
general cause has not been failure of the usual rains. Distress has also, how- 
ever, been caused by hostile invasions ; by swarms of rats and locusts ; by storms 
and floods ; and not unf requently by the immigration of the starving people from 
distant distressed parts into districts otherwise well provided with food supplies ; 
and occasionally by excessive exports of grain into famine-stricken districts ; or 
by combinations of two or more of the above-named circumstances/' Report, 
1878, p. 2. 

There is one peculiarity about the famines of India which 
deserves especial notice, and it is this : certain districts only are so 
visited at any one period ; and in India, taken as a whole, there is 
always produced food enough for all its inhabitants. The imme- 
diate question is therefore one of transport only; the ultimate 
question is of course the prevention of famines. This state of 
things has given rise to a somewhat fierce controversy between the 
respective advocates of railway and canal (or irrigation) extension. 
Into that controversy I do not propose to enter further than to say : 
for the purposes of Imperial Government one cannot but admit 
that railways are of the first necessity. For the purposes of local 
and domestic government, canals (with which can be combined 
irrigation), are at least in those districts most subject to famine 
droughts, of paramount importance on the score of humanity. 
The soil of India under irrigation never fails to produce a crop. In 
some districts canals, as a means of transport, have been found to 
pay as a financial investment. In others they have involved 
immense loss, in the way of an unproductive lock-up of capital. In 
some parts of the empire, the country is naturally suited to canal 
and irrigation works; in others the physical or engineering 
difficulties are very great. The problem for the Government in 
the last-named cases is a very serious one. Irrigation where it 
can be successfully carried out, in fact is a preventative of famines. 
Railways afford the means of distributing food when famines arise ; 
and in the meantime they aid greatly in developing the resources 

the World : Past and Present. 91 

of the country. I know the anxious care which the present 
Government have bestowed upon this question. If the near 
occurrence of two such severe famines could have been foreseen, it 
would no doubt have been wise to have expended in irrigation 
works the 12 or 15 millions sterling which have been spent or lost 
by their occurrence, even if this enterprise had not been pecuniarily 
productive. To meet probable future requirements, an extended 
and well-considered system of combined water carriage and irri- 
gation must be devised. A return upon the outlay may be 
provided in the shape of a tax or water charge upon the districts 

This important question is ably discussed in an important paper 
by Colonel George Chesney, in the " Nineteenth Century,' ' for 
November, 1877. 

Sun-Spot Theory. 

When or by whom the sun-spot theory as applying to India 
was first observed upon, I need not stop to inquire. There seems 
to have been several independent inquirers, as is very often the 
case. The name of Mr. W. W. Hunter is notably associated with 
the inquiry ; and in the " Nineteenth Century " for November, 
1877, is an interesting article, the joint production of Mr. J. 
Norman Lockyer and Mr. Hunter, to which those who desire details 
beyond those here given may with advantage refer. 

In the article named, after an explanation of the more recently 
observed phenomena connected with the sun, the writers proceed to 
state (p. 584) : — 

"All these phenomena ebb and flow once in eleven years. So that every 
eleven years we have the greatest activity in the production of uprushes, spots, 
and prominences; and between the period of maximum we have a period of 
minimum, when such manifestations are almost entirely wanting. In fact, the 
spots may be taken as a rough index of solar energy, just as the rainfall may be 
taken as a convenient indication of terrestrial climate. They are an index but not 
a measure of solar activity; and their absence indicates a reduction, not a 
cessation ©f the sun's energy." 

Now if the matter could have been reduced to as simple a 
problem as is here indicated, the effect of the variations of the sun's 
spots upon rainfall and other climatic conditions would have been 
easily within our reach, for even twenty-two years of meteorological 

* In speaking of India it is always to be remembered that just as famines 
become obviated, and a regular food supply be obtained for the people, so will the 
population increase. All that is now done must therefore be considered in the 
light of the additional millions and tens of millions which will be planted upon 
that soil within the next half -century. 

Sir J. Strachey had come to the conclusion that as a sort of insurance against 
future famines, he must have a surplus of some 2,000,000^. annually. — Lord 
Georgo Hamilton in the House of Commons, 1878. 

92 Walford— On the Famines of 

observations would have shown us whether the results were perfectly 
uniform, or whether much variation was to be expected. Besides 
such regularly recurring results could not have escaped observation 
at an earlier period. A correspondent to the " Times " (14th 
December, 1877), Mr. A. Cooper Ranyard, supplied the following 
important qualifications :— 

"Will you permit me to draw attention to the fact that the periods of 
maximum and minimum of sun-spot development do not occur at uniformly 
regular intervals of time, as some of your correspondents appear to assume P It 
is true that on the average sun-spot maxima occur at intervals of xi'ii years, 
but occasionally thirteen or fourteen years will elapse between two periods of sun- 
spot maxima. In one instance in comparatively recent times — viz., between 
1788*1 and 1804*2 — i6*i years elapsed; while, on the other hand, between the 
sun-spot maxima of 1829*9 and 1837*2 only 7*3 years elapsed. Dr. Wolf, of 
Zurich, in a memoir which will shortly be issued by the Royal Astronomical 
Society, shows that the divergence from the mean period has during the last two 
centuries and a-half amounted on the average to 2*03 years. The data which he 
has made use of are derived from a very extensive series of manuscript and printed 
record of sun-spot observations dating from 1610 (shortly after the invention of 
the telescope) to the present time. An examination of these records shows that 
the irregularity in the development of sun spots is so great that only value prog- 
nostications can be made with regard to the time of an approaching maximum ; 
for example, six months before the time assumed from the eleven-year law as a 
time of maximum development, it would be impossible upon examination of the sun 
to assert that the period of maximum development had just arrived, or whether it 
might be delayed for another two or three years. And what is true with regard 
to periods of maximum development is also true for periods of minimum develop- 
ment. It will thus be seen that if the newly-broached theory were fully 
established, the Indian Government would be as far as it is at present from 
being able to predict a year or two beforehand whether any particular season 
would be a season of famine or no." 

From this we also learn, what indeed was to be expected, 
that the theory will receive the most critical investigation and 

We have yet to understand the mode in which the changing 
aspect of the sun makes itself felt on this planet. The " Nineteenth 
*' Century " article thus enlightens us (p. 585) : — 

** It was, perhaps, scarcely necessary thus to clear the ground for the general 
statement, now an accepted fact of science, that with the exception of tide 
work, all our terrestrial energies come from the sun. In the great modern prin- 
ciple of the conservation of energy, we have not only proof that the actual energy 
stored up in our planet is constant, but that the solar energy is the great prime 
mover of all the changeable phenomena with which we are here familiar, especially 
in the inorganic world. That energy gives us our meteorology by falling at 
different times on different points of the aerial and aqueous envelopes of our 
planet, thereby producing ocean and air currents, while, by acting upon the 
various forms of water which exist in those envelopes, it is the fruitful parent of 
rain, and cloud, and mist. Nor does it stop here. It affects in a more 
mysterious way the electricity in the atmosphere, and the magnetism of the globe 

We are next told how it is that these effects are variable, 
instead of being constant, as most of nature's operations are : — 

the World : Past and Present 93 

" If the energy radiated from the sun were constant, we shonld expect that 
the terrestrial conditions which depend on the amount of solar energy received at 
any one place would he constant too. The daily change in the earth's rotation, 
the yearly change brought about by. the earth's revolution would be there; but 
there the change would stop. The fire, as well as the air, earth, and water, would 
be constant quantities. But suppose the fire to be variable, in other words, 
suppose the solar energy to change in amount from year to year. To the daily 
and unusual changes of our terrestrial phenomena would then be added another 
change; a change absolutely irregular and unpredictable, if the variation in the 
amount of solar energy were subject to no law ; but a change as regular as the 
daily and the yearly one, if the variations in the amount of the solar energy were 
subject to a law. The period of the additional terrestrial change would agree 
with the period of the solar change, whatever that might be ; and to the daily and 
yearly response of the earth to the solar energy, there would be superadded an 
additional change, depending upon and coincident in the main with the period of 
the solar change. We have said coincident in the main, because it is easy to 
imagine in the case of meteorological phenomena dependent upon a long train of 
intermediate influences between the impact of the solar energy and the final 
result, that time would be taken for their development. In this case, although 
the dependence would be there, an exact coincidence would not. There would be 
a lagging behind, and this lagging behind would possibly not be the same at 
different latitudes." 

I think we may now (thanks to our learned instructors) feel 
that we understand the rationale of sun-spot influences sufficiently 
for the purposes of this paper. 

Reverting again more particularly to India, I desire to supple- 
ment what I have already said hy the following able remarks 
communicated to the " Times " by Mr. Henry F. Blandford, of the 
Meteorological Association of Calcutta, under date 9th November, 
and put in that journal 4th December, 1877 : — 


Before concluding, I would say a few words on a subject which has been 
much discussed in the newspapers during the last few months, viz., the supposed 
recurrence of famines in Southern India at intervals of about eleven years, in 
accordance with the period of sun-spot variation. The idea that years of maximum 
sun spots are also years of abundant harvests, originally suggested by Sir William 
Herschel, has lately been brought into prominence mainly through the labours of 
Mr. Meldrum of the Mauritius, whose latest paper on the subject, published in the 
monthly notices of the Mauritius Meteorological Society, gives figures based on the 
rainfall statistics of a large number of stations in different parts of the world. 
These seem to show that the average rainfall of the globe is subject to a regular 
fluctuation through periods of about eleven years, and that at its maximum, which 
occurs about a year later than the epoch of maximum sun spots, the mean fall is 
about 1 5 per cent, greater than at its minimum, which precedes that of minimum 
sun spots by one or two years. The " Register of the Presidency Town of Madras," 
lately published by Mr. Pogson, shows a greater fluctuation than this, apparently 
about 25 per cent.; but this seems to be quite local. Two other stations in 
Southern India, equally involved in the present famine (the only two I may men- 
tion, for which I have been able to obtain many [forty] years' registers), viz., 
Bangalore and Mysore, show a large irregular fluctuation, but scarcely an appre- 
ciable regular oscillation according to the eleven-year cycle; and the mean of 
seven stations, all situated in tropical India (including Madras), gives a probable 
periodical fluctuation not exceeding 9 per cent. Such a fluctuation is, of course, 
quite insufficient to warrant the expectation of the regularly recurrent famines. I 
cannot but think that some confusion has been unconsciously introduced into the 

94 Walfoed— On the Famines of 

discussion, by the fact that the name of the town which shown the largest fluctua- 
tion is also that of the province, in one part or soother, of which famines hare 
occurred, for many of the (amines which are supposed to illustrate the law of 
periodicity, hare chiefly affected districts which receive their principal rainfall at a 
different season of the year from Madras itself and the Climatic, and also from a 
different source. That of 1866, for instance, is chiefly memorable as the Oriasa 
famine; and while it involved certain districts of Madras, the dearth also extended 
to Western Bengal and Behar, regions which, like Orissa itself, receive their rain- 
fall during the summer monsoon — the latter chiefly from the west coast, the 
former from the Bay of Bengal. That of 1851 was most severe in Bellary, which 
also depends mainly on the summer monsoon from the went coast. The law of 
Amine recurrence even in southern India is, then, by no meann so simple as one 
might be apt to infer from much that has lately been written on the subject ; and 
It becomes still more complicated if we include northern India, which is a region 
of equal importance from an administrative point of view. The worst famine of 
this century was that of 1837-38, 1837 being a year of maximum sun spots, the 
highest in this century previous to 1870; and 1870 was preceded by the famine of 
Rajpootana and the North- West Provinces in 1868-69, and followed two years later 
by great scarcity in Khandeish (in the Bombay Presidency), and again two years 
later by that of Behar and the neighbouring districts of the North- West Provinces ; 
the memorable famine of 1861, in the upper North- West Provinces, also followed 
Immediately on a year of maximum sun spots. My conclusion is then, that we are 
as yet far from having discovered the law of famine recurrence. As far ns the 
evidence vet put forward can be said to point to any law of periodicity, it is this— 
that severe famines seem to tend to occur more frequently about the time of 
Minimum sun spots in southern India, and about that of maximum sun spots in 
northern India ; but the evidence is very imperfect, and requires thorough examina- 
tion. It is unquestionable that a great deficiency of rainfall in one region is In 
many cases attended by a great excess elsewhere. The rains which were withheld 
from Madras at the close of 1876, were discharged over the Bay of Bengal, 
producing two severe cyclones ; and while the North- West Provinces during the 1 
present summer have suffered an almost entire loss of the crops of that season from 
continued drought, those of Pegu have been drowned and washed away by the 
extraordinary floods of the Irawaddy." 

He adds : — 

" The law discovered by Mr. Meldrnm is a most important one, and everyone 
must rejoice at the attempts which are now being made to trace out in the 
vicissitudes of the atmosphere the influence of the varying action of the sun. But 
no good will be effected by hasty and crude generalisation, and while much maybe 
expected from a patient study of meteorological physics, the hasty promulgation of 
empirical laws, founded on insufficient data, can only lead to disappointment. A 
prophecy that the rains would again fail this year in Madras, purporting to bear 
the authority of Mr. Pogson, the Government astronomer of Madras, has been 
largely circulated in the newspapers in England and India. Happily it has been 
falsified by the event." 

I ought here to mention that two distinguished members of our 
own body have thrown some additional light on the sun -spot theory. 
Professor W. Stanley Jevons, F.B.S., read a paper at the British 
Association meeting at Bristol in 1875, on "The Influence of the 
Sun-Spot Period upon the Price of Corn." This falls rather to be 
noticed in the second part of my present p&per than here. Mr. 
Jeula, who as Secretary of the late Statistical Committee at 
'a, :■.-'! extended means for observing the influence of the 

the World : Past and Present 95 

seasons in relation to storms, in a letter published in the " Times " 
of 19th September, 1877, famishes some facts of much interest.* 
The following are the chief passages of his letter : — 


The account given in the ' Times ' of the 28th of March last, of Dr. W. W. 
Hunter's researches into the Madras rainfall and its possible connection with sun 
spots, led me to throw together the scanty materials available relating to losses 
posted on Lloyd's loss book, to ascertain if any coincidence existed between the 
varying numbers of such losses and Dr. Hunter's results, for as the cycle of rain- 
fall at Madras coincides, I am informed, with the periodicity of the cyclones in the 
adjoining Bay of Bengal, as worked out by the Government astronomer at 
Mauritius, some coincidence between maritime casualties, rainfall, and sun spots, 
appeared at least possible, and you may consider even so humble an attempt to 
enlarge the area of comparison to be alike of some use and interest. 

" I was only able to obtain data for two complete cycles of eleven years — 
namely, from 1855 to 1876 inclusive — while the period investigated by Dr. Hunter 
extended from 1813 to 1876, and his observations related to Madras and its neigh- 
bourhood only, but the losses posted occurred to vessels of various countries, and 
happened in different parts of the world. 

" It was necessary to bring these losses to some common basis of comparison, 
and the only one available was the number of ' British registered vessels of the 
United Kingdom and Channel Islands' — manifestly an arbitrary one. I conse- 
quently cast out the percentage of losses posted each year upon the number of 
such registered vessels for the same year, and also the percentage of losses posted 
in each of the eleven years of the two cycles upon the total posted in efwh complete 
cycle, thus obtaining two bases of comparison independent of each other. 

" The results were sufficiently remarkable to justify me in communicating. my 
materials to Dr. Hunter, and he has most courteously worked out with me a series 
of tables showing the final results ; these would occupy too much of your space, 
but from them I hand you a short comparative one, which may be of some interest. 

" The dates of the losses are those of report, not of occurrence, which would 
be earlier — sometimes considerably earlier — consequently they should lag somewhat 
behind the cycle, as they appear to do. The characteristics of Dr. Hunter's theory 
of cyclones have been so fully discussed by meteorologists, and are so clearly set 
forth in Mr. Buchan's letter in the * Times ' of the 8th instant, that I need only 
say the earlier and later years of the cycle show a minimum of sun spots and rain- 
fall, while the years in the centre of the cycle show a maximum of both. 

" Dividing the eleven years, as nearly as the number will allow, into three parts, 
and taking the percentages of losses posted, I find a coincident minimum period of 
four years at the extremities of the cycle, a maximum period of three years in the 
centre of the cycle, and an intermediate period of four years lying between the 
maximum and minimum periods. 

" The annexed table brings this clearly in view. For the figures relating to 
maritime casualties I am responsible ; those referring to rainfall and sun spots have 
been kindly furnished me by Dr. Hunter, and for them he is responsible. The 
sun spots are taken from a list previous to that just issued by Dr. Rudolf Wolf, of 
Zurich, but the differences in these lists, Dr. Hunter states, do not affect the general 
aspect of the case. 

* I have only learned since this paper was prepared, that as far back as 
1846, another distinguished member of our Society, Mr. Hyde Clarke, prepared 
a paper : A Preliminary Inquiry into the Physical Laws Governing the Periods 
of Famines and Panics. This appeared in the " Railway Reporter " for that 
year ; and I shall probably have occasion to refer to it in some detail in the second 
division of my present paper. Again, in 1838, this learned gentleman had con- 
tributed to " Herapath's Railway Magazine " a paper On the Mathematical Law 
of the Cycle ; leading up to the same line of observation. 

96 Walpoed — On Famines of the World .- Past and Present. 

A Table skewing the Mean Percentage of Losses Posted on Lloyd's Loss 
Book upon the Total Registered Vessels of United Kingdom and Channel 
Islands; also on the Total of the Losses Posted in each Cycle of Eleven 
Tears, 1855-76 inclusive; Compared with the Eleven-Year Cycles of 
Sun Spots and Rainfall at Madras. 

Mean Percentage of Loaiea. 

Rainfall at 


^^ rp 

On Registered 
United Kingdum 

On the 

Total Poled in 


Eleven Yeui, 


Minimum Group — 

Mi'tm of let, 2nd, 11th, and 1 
loth years of cyclee J 

Intermediate Group — 

Mean of 3rd, 4tb, 9th, and "1 

Maximum Group— 

Mean of 5th, 6th, and 7th 1 







j y 

" In conclusion, permit me to express the hope that the great practical 
importance of Dr. Hunter's theory, if proved to be true, in relation not only to 
Indian families, bnt, it would seem, to maritime commerce generally, will lead to a 
full and exhaustive examination of all the evidence bearing upon it." 

A previous correspondent in the " Times " had suggested that 
the theory of rainfall and sun-spot connection should bo conducted 
rather by a Fellow of this (the Statistical Society) than by a 
meteorologist. This was deemed by Mr. Jenla a sufficient justi- 
fication for his entering npon the inquiry. I trust it may also be 
deemed a sufficient excuse for myself on this occasion. 

The second part of my paper — which will treat of the "Artificial 
" Causes of Famines," as enumerated in the earlier part of this 
paper — will he presented to the Society whenever a favourable 
opportunity may arise ; and I trust therein to show that the interest 
attaching to famines is by no means exhausted at present. 

Note. — In finally revising this paper, I have brought the facts 
down several months later than the date at which it was read. The 
incidents of 1878 are in many respects important. I do not know 
t the absence of systematic records — ii' tbey exceed those of 
r years, or whether the apparent increase is simply due to the 
jnded observation which the pursuit of the present inves- 
s induced me to make. 


Discussion on Mr. Walford's Paper. 

General Sir Arthur Cotton confined his remarks to Indian 
famines, with which, he said, he was practically acquainted. Too 
nmch conld not be said in favour of the Governor- General, who 
first attempted to grapple with the terrible evil of famines. It 
appeared astonishing that after having had experience of famines 
and having successfully grappled with them at one time that the 
administration should not have immediately proceeded to prepare 
for another. There was always abundance of time to prepare for a 
famine in India : therefore why should there not be a regular set of 
rules laid down as to what was to be done in the case of a famine 
actually occurring. But why should not measures be taken so that 
their recurrence might be prevented altogether. There were at 
least thirty or forty districts in India as to which there was no 
possibility of famine, because the Government by their measures 
had already provided against it. What was the reason they had 
not extended their measures to other districts ? It was to his mind 
unaccountable. But there is another- point. There was always 
plenty of food in India, and therefore, as stated in the paper, the 
first thing to be considered was the mode of conveyance of food to 
a failing district from those districts that had abundance. This 
was the lesson he had learnt, and it had taken him many years to 
learn it. The point he wished to insist upon was that nothing but 
water in a country like India could carry goods at such low prices, 
and in such vast quantities as were absolutely essential for the well- 
being of a country like India. There were actually at present 
before the Government plans for works which had been waiting to 
be carried into execution for tens and twenties of years, and it was 
imperative that these works should be carried out at once. There 
was nothing to hinder such a course being adopted. People said 
that India was already so poor that it could not be loaded with 
debts; but in saying so, they set aside the fact that irrigation 
works were thoroughly remunerative. The head of the irrigation 
department in the Indian Office had shown by plain figures this as 
a fact; and if the Government had accomplished these things 
during their apprenticeship, when they were finding their way to 
arrive at the knowledge of a matter which the natives had acquired 
hundreds of years before, how much more should they hope to go 
on prosperously now that they had such immense experience to 
work upon. At the present moment 1 5,000,000^ had been spent 
upon irrigation and navigation works. No doubt many mistakes 
had been made in the carrying out of the works, but experience 
would lead them not to repeat those mistakes, and it would rather 
be an encouragement to proceed still further. The principle of 
Mr. Fawcett and those of his school, was that a penny saved was a 
penny got, but his theory with regard to India was that every 
penny spent was a shilling gained, if judiciously spent, that is upon 

93 Discussion, 

works really suited to the wants and circumstances of India, and 
he was sure the works that had been executed abundantly proved 
this. In dealing with this question in the House of Commons, 
every failure, however temporary or however partial, had been dwelt 
upon, but not one word had been said as to particular or general 
success. He was perfectly satisfied from his own experience that 
the whole of India could be made into a perfect garden, and from 
the knowledge and means they at present possessed, famines in 
India could be put an end to for ever. The question was not so 
much what would be the profit of these works to the Treasury, but 
what would be the total effect they would have on the community. 
The 7^ per cent, profit stated by the head of the irrigation depart- 
ment, was a mere trifle compared with the actual total results. He 
could safely say that the general result of all the works that had 
been executed was ioo per cent. Mr. Henry Morris had lately 
published a book in which he gave an account of the district with 
which he was connected for some time.* 

Mr. F. C. Danvers (of the India Office) said that the paper 
was a most excellent and able one. With reference to the causes of 
famine he did not quite agree that what were called natural causes 
were beyond human control, because in the first instance, when the 
world was created, there was a certain economy in all parts of the 
universe under which it was impossible that such things as drought 
or flood would occur to interfere with what was necessary for 
human existence. The increase of population, the great demand 
for fuel, the desire to extend cultivation, cutting down forests 
without due regard to where they were situated, and other causes, 
had tended in a great measure to bring about famines. If man had 
been instrumental in undoing the work of nature, it was only a 

* His words are, " at the commencement of oar rule, the district composed 
part of a neglected province, and at one time it was brought into a state of 
extreme impoverishment and distress. It was desolated by famine, and misgoverned 
by the numerous landowners and their advisers. Since the introduction, however, 
of the admirable system of irrigation, it has brightened and revived. Famine is 
unknown. The people are prosperous and contented. It is the garden of the 
north province. The revenue instead of being reduced, as it once was, to the verge 
of bankruptcy, is more elastic than it has ever been. Its population has more 
than doubled ; the universal prosperity of its inhabitants is proved by their being 
better fed, better clothed, and better educated than formerly, its commerce has 
flourished, and its trade has developed in a marvellous degree ; and it may confi- 
dently be asserted that it is in as peaceful, happy, and prosperous a condition as any 
part of Her Majesty's dominions." 

Mr. Morris gives the population in 1842 at 560,000 ; by the last census it was 
1,600,000. The revenue has increased from 230,000/. to 570,000/., the exports 
from 60,000/. to 800,000/., and the imports from 20,000/. to 200,000/., and the 
traffic on the main canal is 200,000 tons a-year. The mortality on the average 
preceding 1872 was under 2 per cent., and this included the upper feverish tuloohs ; 
a strong proof of the healthiness of India where the water is regulated. Why 
should not the same be done for every district of Her Majesty's Indian dominions P 
Think of this district in the midst of the famine tract, instead of losing hundreds 
of thousands of her own people, as she formerly did, selling a full crop at famine 
prices, and saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the adjoining districts. 

on Mr. Walford's Paper. 99 

question of time for man to restore the work of nature by planting 
and other processes, so that these droughts and floods would be put 
an end to or be modified. As to inundations, there were three 
causes given, 1st, Unusually high tides, supposed to be occasioned 
by lunar influences ; 2nd, The tides acted upon by wind storms, and 
3rd, Undulation of the earth's surface in particular localities from 
the subterranean influence of earthquakes. He would suggest that 
the destr action of trees on hill-sides, which in many instances had 
been known to be followed by a rapid rush of water down the 
hill-side, filled the rivers beyond what they were able to carry, and 
so caused floods along their banks, very often destroying crops and 
causing temporary famine in small districts. To the list of periods 
of excessive drought which the author had given, he (Mr. Danvers) 
thought there might be some addition made in regard to Indian 
famines : one being in 1837-38, another in 1860-61, and a third 
which took place more recently in southern India, particulars as to 
which he should be happy to furnish Mr. Walford with, if he 
desired them. The other day he had a correspondence with a 
French gentleman, as to what was the proportion of the area that 
should be covered with forest in different countries. In northern 
France it was considered to be 17 per cent, of the area; but in 
tropical countries it was considered desirable to have a much larger 
proportion ; and investigation ought to be made with the view of 
ascertaining what were the correct figures in that respect. As 
regards Indian famines, the author had stated that the first great 
famine of which we had any knowledge was that of 1769-70. 
There was a record of several famines before that of which very 
little was known, and if the author wished it, he (Mr. Danvers) 
would supply him with the information of what was known as to 
these earlier famines. With regard to the famine of 1769-70, the 
author stated, " in our table it is estimated that three millions of the 
population in Bengal then died of starvation," an estimate which 
I am not inclined to deem exaggerated; and we are told, that 
Bengal has been subjected to famines periodically since — why 
since, as distinguished from previously, does not appear. Now he 
(Mr. Danvers) thought that in all probability when the population 
increased, and where the laws of nature were interfered with in 
consequence of that increase, it might naturally be expected that 
as time went on, famines would increase until man had been 
sufficiently wise to replace what he had so wantonly destroyed in 
previous years. He had given a great deal of attention to the 
question of irrigation in India, and to a certain extent he agreed 
with Sir Arthur Cotton, that with regard to many parts of that 
country more might be done. It could not, however, be done all 
at once, because in many parts where the population were not 
accustomed to irrigation, they were unwilling to take the water 
at first, and they must be educated to do so. While they were 
being educated, the Government were losing the interest, but this 
did not matter if they could be got to take the water eventually. 
In a great part of India such as the Deccan and southern India, in 
an ordinary season, tanks might be filled for the purposes of cul- 
tivating the land ; but to incur a very considerable outlay in those 

100 Discussion 

districts with a view to averting famine would be useless, but the 
benefit of such works in ordinary seasons would doubtless be great, 
as by enabling larger crops to be raised the ryots would be enriched, 
and therefore better able to meet the consequences of failure of 
crops in years of drought and famine. In northern India water 
could be taken from those rivers which depended upon perpetual 
snow. With regard to water navigation, he did not think that 
water transit would answer for all parts of India, especially in those 
parts where there were railways. 

Mr. Hyde Clarke said he did not wish to enter upon the 
disputed question of irrigation or canalisation in India. In 
reference to the question of climate and rainfall, it was a matter 
of considerable importance to ascertain what proportion of these 
there should be in a country. It was a disputed point in forest 
science, but in this country there was not the information available 
for ourselves, and yet there were many forms in which it was 
desirable to collect the data. There were countries where, for 
agricultural purposes, the trees in the hedge rows were cut down, 
and the consequences of this had to be ascertained ; but in this 
country there was a great variety of conditions. If they went to 
the other side of the Channel, they would find the whole country 
laid bare. He thought that more attention should be given to our 
scattered trees, because it was not a question merely of forest, but 
a question of distribution of trees ; and attention being called to 
this subject, they might be able to bring it into a scheme for the 
preparation of agricultural statistics. He regretted he had not 
been able to put his hand on the diagrams he made in 1846, to 
illustrate his former observations; but the mode in which he 
proceeded was a thoroughly economical one. As they all knew, 
there was a very long series of corn prices for six centuries, and he 
tabulated these, which gave the best exponent of practical meteoro- 
logical results. The consequence was, he got the short ten years' 
period, but although it would go on very regularly for a long series, 
all of a sudden it would be missing ; and in his opinion there was a 
period of fifty-four or one hundred and four years that operated, 
and besides that, there was a larger cycle still; therefore apart 
from all the questions of the sun-spot theory, that had been 
subsequently started, there was no possibility of foretelling the 
economical results of the phenomena so as to be of material use, 
and there was nothing in the discussions that had taken place, that 
in his mind held out the hope that it would attain to results like 
that. At the same time it was a matter of very great importance 
to follow up the same subject, and the only way to do it was that 
in which Mr. Walford had begun it. 

Mr. R. H. Patterson said he had been asked by Mr. Walford, 
to make a few remarks as to the great and terrible famines in 
China, which had been omitted in the paper. There was one going 
on at this moment in China, which was quite as bad as any of 
those which had occurred in our Indian Empire. Such famines have 
existed in that country, where they kept very accurate statistical 

on Mr. Walford's Paper. 101 

records, from time immemorial. China in this respect differed 
somewhat from India. There was a double cause of famine in 
China, the one was tremendous inundations, the other was drought. 
The inundations were owing to the fact that at least two of the 
rivers in China were amongst the largest in the world. They 
flowed down from the vast snowy mountains of Central Asia, and, 
as almost always happened in those countries, the bed of these 
rivers was higher than the level of the surrounding country ; 
consequently whenever the banks broke, whole provinces were 
submerged, and sometimes literally hundreds of thousands of 
people were drowned. On the other hand, the famines were, like 
those in India, produced by drought. What seemed to him almost 
a special point in connection with Mr. Walford's paper was, that 
there was a number of records of terrestrial phenomena given, but 
what was wanted also, was a record of astronomical phenomena. 
So long as the configuration of the earth, the distribution of land 
and water, remained as it was, there could not be any great changes 
in the conditions of the seasons, except from extra-terrestrial 
influence. It must be owing to the cosmical action of the surround- 
ing orbs, of which the greatest actor was the sun. Hence the 
importance recently attached to the solar-spot theory. That theory 
was a thing of yesterday. Why ? Because the statistical records 
of these things in Europe were but of yesterday. But it was not 
new in the old times. In Egypt and Babylon astronomical 
phenomena were recorded for two thousand years ; and not a few 
strange things that are told by Herodotus and others, as to the 
so-called powers of the priesthood, the Royal Society and the 
learned class of those days, were simply owing to the fact that 
science in some departments of knowledge means fore-knowledge. 
The acquirements of learned people in those days might be 
attributed by the masses, and even by themselves, to inspired 
knowledge or divination ; but it might be better attributed to fore- 
casting the future by the light of the past. If these learned 
classes had kept and compared terrestrial with solar phenomena for 
even five hundred years, they must have known (with all submission 
to our conceit), much more than the Royal Society yet does. 

Mr. W. Tayler after alluding to the value of the paper, said 
that famines were not unknown in ancient times, and were mentioned 
by Livy, and in modern times, by Voltaire, Usher, and others, but 
it was remarkable that none of the writers had suggested remedies 
for the prevention of famines ; we had now however the advantages 
of science to work upon, and if when Mr. Walford, as promised in 
the latter part of his paper, gave another paper on the " artificial 
causes of famines,'' he would also give the means for their preven- 
tion, he would do a great service, not only to the Society, but also 
to the whole world. 

Sir Rawson Rawson hoped that the paper would be productive 
of important consequences. The various facts had been collected 
with remarkable industry, but it was scarcely to be expected that 
a complete list of these events could be made at the first attempt. 

102 Discussion 

He hoped that the paper would lead to the co-operation of others 
who had studied the matter, in assisting Mr. Walford to complete 
his tables ; and he hoped that in the second portion of Mr. Walford 's 
paper, a still farther list of such remarkable events as he had 
described would be furnished. When he (Sir R. Rawson) was in 
Barbadoes, he availed himself of the opportunity of ascertaining 
the fall of rain over a long series of years in that climate, and its 
influence upon the sugar crop ; and he was happy to say that the 
report he had made had led to important local results. He was 
able to make the estimate that for about ten or twelve years, each 
inch of rain in the antecedent year before a crop of sugar was 
worth about 800 hogsheads of that article. In the first year of the 
ten years it was about 800 ; in the last year it was about 800, and 
on the average of ten years it was also about 800. In the last three 
years of his government, there was a great advance, consequent, 
he believed, on an extension of the area under cultivation ; and for 
each inch of rain it was 900 and upwards. 

His reason for noticing this was that Lord Salisbury wrote and 
asked for a number of copies of his report, in order to send it out 
to India, with the view of establishing a record of rain there, in 
order to anticipate a deficiency of the rice crop consequent on a 
deficiency of rain fall. That was one of the practical results of an 
observation of astronomical phenomena; and he believed that if 
anybody would work out a comparison of the different events 
noticed by Mr. Walford and others, they would be able to gather 
from a parallelism of these phenomena, some results which would 
be highly valuable and instructive. 

Mr. E. H. Hall thought that there was not so much need with 
regard to this subject of scientific as of practical knowledge. What 
was wanted in case of famine was corn and rice for the people who 
were absolutely starving. He had been out in China. The provinces 
bordering on the Yang-tse river in the time of Polo were considered 
the garden of the world. But they could not be so considered now. 
There was no doubt that the great famines that had desolated 
northern China, were largely caused by the cutting down of the 
belts of timber in the mountain ranges and hills. He should like to 
call Mr. Walford's attention to an article that had appeared in the 
previous week's " Saturday Review," which was prepared by some 
one very conversant with the subject, and which corroborated what 
he had learned when he was in China. He would recommend a 
perusal of those figures by Mr. Walford, because they supplemented 
in a valuable way what he had advanced as to the cause of famines. 
America was comparatively a new country, and therefore the rule to 
be applied with reference to the destruction of timber would be 
seen there more particularly than elsewhere. On the Missouri and 
Kansas and other great rivers, the destruction of timber not only 
materially affected the period of growth, but also the drought 
periods. It was well known that in China there had been difficulties 
almost as great as famines to contend with. There had been an 
epidemic of rebellion, and there had been in the central districts 
locusts, which were really the grasshoppers of that empire. In the 

on Mr. Watford's Paper. 103 

south of China there were floods ; so that it might be said that 
there were three great plagues inflicted upon them, and he could 
not conceive any more terrible spectacle than that now presented in 
that vast empire. The condition of our fellow subjects in India 
must cause us even more concern from our connection with them. 
The Chinese we had been accustomed 'to consider as barbarians. He 
was happy to see that funds had been raised for their support, 
because to the Chinese this country owed very much, though not 
so much as to India ; and they were never worse off than at the 
present time. 

Mr. Abul-Fazl M. Abdur-Rahman, of Calcutta, craved the 
indulgence of the meeting to make a few remarks, as he came from 
a country (India) which in his opinion bad suffered more than any 
other from the dreadful calamity of famine. In considering the 
subject of famines it might be divided into three parts, namely, 
the causes, the effects, and the means of preventing them. He 
would not enter into the causes ; and it was well known what 
terrible effects famines had on India and other parts of the world. 
With regard to the prevention of Indian famines, he was . rather 
sorry that none of the speakers had made any reference at all to 
emigration. It was true that Sir Arthur Cotton and some others had 
said something about irrigation and cheap railway system as means 
of preventing such calamities. The population of a country like 
India was very large, and tended to increase more rapidly than the 
food which was raised from the soil. They lived almost entirely 
upon agriculture, and their labour produced only food enough for 
their annual subsistence. This was one obvious reason why the 
intensity of famine was so much felt in India. No provision bad 
yet been made to accumulate crops for future purposes. With 
regard to emigration it was one of the most useful things in a 
country like India, where the population was so very large ; but he 
thought it was utterly inapplicable to India, although he was not 
prepared that evening to give any reasons for it, but this much he 
could safely say that if the Mahomedans of India (of whom he was 
one) had now the same spirit which they once had, they would have 
left the country and gone to some other fertile part of the world. 
The Hindoos were naturally fettered to their country by their 
religion, and they could not for a moment even conceive the idea of 
leaving it for a better one. With regard to irrigation it was very 
effective where there was a natural deficiency of water, but it was 
also true that the Orissa Canal and the Madras Irrigation Company's 
Canal had failed, and the Government had lost about 4, 400,000 J. 
It would be found from Sir Arthur Cotton's pamphlets and 
lectures, and also from State papers, that irrigation works had done 
a great deal. Lord Salisbury himself admitted the great im- 
portance and value of such irrigation works. The Eastern and 
Western Jamna Canals, the Canvery Delta and the Godavery Delta 
had given very good returns. It had, however, been said, that the 
want of education of the people caused them not to use the water. 
But such was not the case ; the ray at being the poorest man in 
India, being involved in heavy debts, was driven to still worse 


104 Discussion 

circumstances by famines, and if he at all survived the time of 
adversity, he tried by some means or other to recover his circum- 
stances ; when the Government came down upon him with a fresh 
tax to realise the expenses of irrigation, which the rdyat would 
naturally be unable to pay, and consequently be obliged to refuse 
water from the canal just completed. That was the real cause of 
failure of irrigations of which the Government complained. He 
strongly agreed with the views of Sir Arthur Cotton and those in 
favour of extension of irrigation works in India. If the Govern- 
ment were to continue to spend a certain amount of money on 
irrigation, and after the completion of such works, were to allow a 
certain number of years to the rdyats to take water without any 
fresh payment until such time as they would be in a better position 
to pay fresh taxes in addition to numerous other taxes they were 
already paying, they no doubt would continue to take water and 
begin paying for it. They were all much obliged to Mr. Walford 
for giving such an elaborate exposition of the causes of famines, and 
he earnestly hoped that the next paper he gave would deal at 
length on the best methods and the best means for the preven- 
tion of the famines of the world in general, and famines of India 
in particular. 

The Rev. Mr. Doxsby suggested that if the author would give 
a scale of the comparative density of the population in those parts 
of India where famine had occurred, it would greatly increase the 
value of his most excellent paper. 

Mr. Paul thought there was one point in the chronology of 
famines (Table I) which might be amplified. Between the years 
1708 and 493 B.C. there were no records of famine given. He 
believed that there were records in the Scriptures of some eight or 
nine famines that occurred at intervals of one hundred years. The 
general remark at the commencement of the table might cover 
these ; but perhaps Mr. Walford would supply the details. It was 
likewise instructive to notice that the famine in 1708, which was 
spoken of by Mr. Walford — the seven years' famine of Egypt — 
extended so far across as to China, showing the great extent of the 
famine that existed at that time. There were, he believed, records 
in China which agreed very closely with the dates given by 
Mr. Walford with regard to Egypt. 

Another important point in connection with the remarks made 
regarding drought, as to the cutting down of forests and the 
consequent influence on the rainfall, was the gathering up of water 
in tanks or in dams. If water were spread over a swampy country, 
it was absorbed much more easily than if the same volume were 
collected in a tank or a dam ; consequently, if by artificial means 
water were gathered at various points, the rainfall in the district 
where the water was so collected would be altered. 

Mr. Walford, in reply, said that he had felt the extreme 
difficulty of the subject, and none was more conscious than himself 
of the deficiencies in the paper ; but if he were to carry out the 

on Mr. Watford's Paper. 105 

suggestions of some gentlemen, he did not know that he should 
ever live long enough to finish the task. He had found that the 
subject was inexhaustible; and if he had known what he now 
knew, he should hardly have had courage to begin the paper ; but 
he had become interested in the subject, and had pursued it, every 
day however becoming more discouraged : feeling that at least one 
of the objects he had in view steadily vanished' from his grasp. 
He hoped to elaborate the sun-spot theory, if such a theory could 
really be deduced ; but he had made every table from independent 
sources, hoping that they would react on one another, with the 
view he had in his mind. He could by another mode of proceeding 
have made the tables fit with admirable accuracy, but if he had 
done so, he should not have been doing his duty, or have been 
carrying out the objects of the Society in pursuing statistical 
inquiries to the very end, regardless of everything but the facts. 
The facts here, as in other cases, were indeed the only safe means to 
an end. He should have been delighted to have heard Professor 
Stanley Jevons, Mr. Jeula, and some others, who had studied the 
sun-spot theory more than himself, offer some remarks, if time had 
permitted. In the second part of his paper he did not propose to 
deal with the meteorological, or natural, but with the artificial 
causes of famine ; and if he lived long enough to give a third part 
of the paper, he would pay some attention to the prevention of 
famines ; but this was no part of the task he had set himself. He 
did not know how famines might be prevented. With regard to 
particular localities, no doubt the collected facts would teach some- 
thing ; but he had no doubt also that famines would continue. 
He regretted he had no data of the earlier Chinese famines ; but 
whether it was owing to the density of the population, or other 
causes, famines were of very frequent occurrence in that empire. 
He found it was impossible to obtain authentic particulars. But 
for Mr. Danvers's able report he did not know where he should have 
been with regard to some of the Indian famines. He greatly 
appreciated what Mr. Danvers had done, and what he had promised 
to do. If he (Mr. Danvers) would revise some of the geographical 
boundaries, he had spoken of, and would point out some of the more 
minute circumstances surrounding the localities wherein famines 
were found most to prevail, he would not only be doing a service to 
this Society, in its effort to supply correct information regarding 
important national events, but to humanity at large. He should 
take the earliest opportunity of presenting to the Society the 
second part of his paper. 




[Read before the Statistical Society, 18th February, 1879.] 



Artificial Causes of Famines enu- 
merated 107 

War 107 

Defective Agriculture 108 

Defective Transport 110 

Legislative Interference 120 

Currency Restrictions 191 


Speculation (Forestalling, &c.) .... 225 

Misapplication of Grain 240 

General Remarks on the Tables.... 246 

The Prevention of Famines 248 

The Mortality from Famines 250 

Price of Wheat from a.d. 1000 .... 254 

Literature of Famines 274 

In the first portion of my paper I considered the five " natural 
" causes " of famines, viz. : — Rain (producing floods) ; (2) Frost ; 
(3) Drought; (4) Other Meteorological Phenomena; and (5) 
Plagues of Insects and Vermin ; leaving the remaining seven 
causes, viz. (6) War ; (7) Defective Agriculture ; (8) Defective 
Transport; (9) Legislative Interference; (10) Currency 
Restrictions; (11) Speculation (viz., "Ingrossing" and "Fore- 
" stalling ") ; (12) Misapplication of Grain (as in brewing, 
distilling, &c), which I designated the "artificial causes" of 
famines, to be considered on the present occasion. I now proceed 
to this task ; and shall deal with the several sections in the order 
above enumerated. It will be seen that in treating of these 
artificial causes, the range of observation will be more limited, 
being almost exclusively confined to the United Kingdom. 

VI.— War. 

That war has been in the past, and probably ever will (while 
it shall exist) be productive of famines, seems to be a self-evident 
proposition. Not only does it draw from their employments those 
who would be engaged in the cultivation of the soil ; but it with- 
holds the labour necessary to gather in the crops already pro- 
duced ; while by devastating the plains, as also in its endeavours 
to starve out the enemy, it wastes and destroys at every step that 
which has been already garnered in. At sea it blockades and 
diverts cargoes from their destinations ; on land it cuts off armies, 
cities, districts, from their supplies. Still further, war breeds 
pestilence ; pestilence cuts down the population who have escaped 


108 Walford — On the Famines of 

from its ravages ; the land lies uncultivated ; the live stock dies ; 
and desolation proclaims itself. Hence the sword, pestilence, 
and famine are now, as they have been in all time, the three 
associated deadly enemies of the human race. 

These truths need no selected examples for their illustration, 
they are too patent to all ; but in the margin of Table XIV I 
have indicated periods of peace and war, as exercising a never- 
failing influence on the price of grain, to which I shall call more 
minute attention in my observations upon that table. 

But there is another manner in which war has deeply affected 
the food supplies of the people in this country, and this is by reason 
of the fiscal burdens which it has thrown upon our country, and 
which have been defrayed, and could only be defrayed, by taxing 
continuously the necessaries of life required by the entire popula- 
tion. The progress of these burdens, as affecting grain, will be 
reviewed in Table X. 

VII. — Defective Agriculture. 

That defective agriculture, associated with an increasing popu- 
lation, must conduce greatly to the probability of famines at recur- 
ring periods, is also a truth which requires no detailed elucidation. 
The fact that agriculture in England was very defective for 
at least a period of one thousand years after the Roman occu- 
pation (which brings us down to the middle of the sixteenth 
Century), is a readily admitted truth. I mention the Roman 
occupation, because it is asserted, on what may be deemed good 
authority, that during that interesting period, grain was actually 
exported regularly from this island to support the imperial legions 
during their wars of conquest in other parts of Europe. Several 
famines in England are recorded during the Roman occupation 
(b.c. 55 to a.d. 449), but they become much more general during 
the Saxon period (a.d. 449 to 827) ; and still more so under the 
Anglo-Saxons and Danes (a.d. 827 to 1066). It was perhaps 
under the Normans (a.d. 1066 to 1154) that the agriculture of 
-England fell to its lowest ebb. During the century of Norman 
rule, famines in England were almost chronic. Rents, too, were 
paid in kind, and not in money. 

It is but too obvious that the continuous warfare which pre- 
vailed during the several periods last named must be incompatible 
with progressive agriculture. Not only was the face of the 
country devastated by the civil strife which prevailed at home, 
but the armies raised for our endless foreign wars carried off the 
very flower of our yeomanry, and gave a martial rather than an 
agrarian tendency to the times. Under the House of Plantagenet 
(a.d. 1154 to 1399) matters were not much mended, except 

the World : Past and Present. 109 

perhaps during the single reign of Edward I. The Houses of 
Lancaster and York, which reigned during the next century 
(1399-1485), bring up to the mind only memories of civil wars 
and extended desolation. Under the government of the House of 
Tudor (1485-1603) we begin to recognise the approach of a better 
state of matters; and this continued under the Stuarts, and 
through the Commonwealth and the Restoration. 

At the Revolution of 1688 more than half the kingdom was 
believed to consist of moorland, forest, and fen ; and vast common 
wastes covered the greater part of England north of the Humber. 
The numerous Enclosure Bills which begin with George II (1727) 
indicate that land was now growing into demand for the purposes 
of cultivation. This feature yet more especially marked the reign 
of his successor (George III). The drainage of the fen districts 
of England commenced about the middle of the last century ; and 
by these means, combined with the other influences then at work 
in the same direction, the whole face of the country became 
changed. Ten thousand square miles of previously untilled land 
were added to the area of cultivation by the Enclosure Acts alone ; 
so that between the first and the last years of the eighteenth cen- 
tury a fourth part of England was redeemed from waste and 
brought under cultivation. But this is not all : the improvement 
of tillage had during the same period probably doubled the 
products of the land cultivated. This improvement in practical 
agriculture began with the travels and treatises of Arthur Young 
(the Suffolk farmer) . It was followed up by the introduction of 
the large farm system of Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, rendering high 
farming a necessity. This again was succeeded by the develop- 
ment of scientific agriculture, in the early half of the present 
century, in the villages of Lothian ; while he who has done more 
than any other man living to bring all these past teachings down 
to practical every-day adoption, is the enthusiastic John Joseph 
Mechi, of Tiptree Hall, the model Essex agriculturist ! * 

Mr. Arthur Young, in his " Survey of the Eastern Counties 
" of England," vol. iv, page 458 (published 1771), estimated the 
extent of land under crop in England (exclusive of Wales) at 
12,707,000 acres; but this was believed to be much too high. 
Mr. Stevenson, whose opinion was regarded as of high value, 
estimated the land under culture in England in 1812 as being 
12,000,000 acres. Mr. Couling, land surveyor, laid before the 
Parliamentary Committee on Emigration in 1827, tables (since 
regarded as of high authority) wherein he estimated the arable 
and pasture land of England and Wales, exclusive of wastes, 

# In Table XIV will be found many detailed facts bearing THgcm mA ^Ti- 
trating points associated with the periods embraced in tida'tataf woxfttonrs. 

110 Walfoed — On the Famines of 

forests, roads, rivers, &c, at 28,749,000 acres ; * of which he supposed 
the cultivated land and gardens to make 11,143,370 acres. Mr. 
Middleton, Mr. Comber, and Mr. Stevenson (already referred to) 
regarded this latter estimate as being as much too low as Mr. Young's 
had been too high. Mr. M'Culloch (" British Empire," 1854, vol. i, 
page 548), supports this last view, and estimated the land under 
cultivation in 1846, at from 13 to 13! millions of acres, cropped as 
follows : — 


Wheat 3,800,000 

Barley 1,500,000 

Oats and Rye 2,500,000 

Potatoes, Turnips, andl 

Bape! ...! J 2 > 000 < 000 


Beans and Peas 500,000 

Clover 1,300,000 

Fallow 1,500,000 

Hops 50,000 

Gardens 1 50,000 

Tables prepared by Mr. Stevenson, from the returns made to 
the Board of Agriculture, estimated the average produce of wheat 
in England in 1812-13, at from 20 to 24 bushels {i\ to 3 quarters) 
per acre ; barley at 32 bushels, and oats at 36 bushels per acre. 
Mr. M'Culloch considered that little dependence could be put on 
these estimates, and he considered that even if they were correct 
when made, the produce of wheat had been so much increased by 
improved agriculture, as to be not less (in 1846) than 32 bushels 
per acre, a difference of yield on the 3,800,000 acres of no less 
than 30,400,000 bushels ! The cultivated land in Scotland was 
estimated by Mr. M'Culloch as being 5,043,450 acres, out of a total 
surface acreage (exclusive of lakes) of 19 millions of acres. In 
Ireland the cultivated land (including towns and plantations) was 
estimated at 13,881,711 acres, out of a total of 20,177,446 acres. 

VIII. — Defective Transport. 

I said in the first portion of my paper, while speaking of India, 
that taking the empire as a whole, there was always (that is to say 
every year) enough food produced for the support of all its inhabi- 
tants, vast as that population is. If this be so of any one portion 
of the globe, it will certainly be true of the globe taken as a whole. 
It has often happened in our own little island, that while grain 
and other articles of food have been at famine prices on one side, 
or one end, or in one division, there has been an abundance and 
to spare in other portions of the land; how much more likely 
then is this state of matters to occur in vast continents such as 
India ? This being duly considered, it is seen at once that one of 
the great problems in connection with famine is, facilities for 

* The entire acreage of England is now returned as 32,590,429 acres, and of 
Wales 4,734*4.26 acres, total for England and Wales 37,324,915 acres. 

the World: Past and Present. Ill 

As between nations there has existed from all time of which 
history takes note, the means of communication and of transport, 
by ships, i.e., sailing vessels. The countries of the earth have 
indeed too often made laws shutting out the supplies brought to 
them in the vessels of other nations ; or only admitting them under 
exceptional and stringent conditions. As to the three divisions of 
our own kingdom it has rarely happened that famine has prevailed 
during any one year in them all ; but each had so contrived, by 
legislation (presently to be reviewed) to shut out the products of 
the others, that starvation ensued before the artificial barriers so 
foolishly set up could be removed ; and only when removed to be 
set up again the moment the temporary occasion had passed away. 

So as to the continent of Europe : we have always been within 
reach of supplies from thence, but from the obstructions of legisla- 
tion, the circumstance of war, or the depreciation of our currency, 
these have not been always available. 

But while we thus cut ourselves off from supplies from without, 
did we take measures to facilitate the transport of the produce of 
our internal resources ? It is clear that we did not. The condition 
of our internal communications until about the middle of the last 
century was such as can only be realised by detailed descriptions, 
drawn from contemporary sources. Even the great highways made 
for us during the Roman occupation — these Romans probably had 
learned the value of such roads from the famine visitations to 
which their own capital had been so often subjected — had been 
allowed to fall into a hopeless condition from sheer neglect. 

It is seen from all this, that even in a small country like our 
own the means of internal communication are of the first conse- 
quence in periods of partial or general scarcity ; how much more 
so must they be in vast and thickly populated continents like those 
of Asia or Africa ? The grain may be transported from any part 
or from all parts of the globe to the ports ; and the people may die 
of hunger long before it can reach them in the interior ! this has 
happened so lately as to add a terrible emphasis to the facts here 

I shall offer some observations later especially applicable to 
India; therefore I now propose to confine myself to the past 
experience of England in regard to transport; hoping that the 
lessons to be learned from these examples may be applied with 
effect elsewhere. 

* As an important adjunct to the present increased facilities of transport mnst 
be mentioned the Electric telegraph, by means of which these facilities may be 
pot promptly into motion. 



Walford— 0« the Famvti&s of 

b.o. 55 

a.d. 449 
1247 .... 



Table VIIL— Defective Transport. 

The first roads, properly so-called, made in this country, was (luring 
the Roman occupation ; but unfortunately these were not kept up.* 

Sir Charles Whitworth reviewing the price of grain, as increased from 
1244, say 8, " so great a variation within so short time, in the same 
kingdom, indicates bad husbandry, and a want of proper conveyances 
both by land and water." 

The first enactment relating to highways was 13 Edward I (The 
Statute of Winchester). "The highways to market towns shall be 
enlarged," which is not very clear in its meaning. 

" And further, it is commanded that highways leading from one 
market town to another shall be enlarged, whereas woods, hedges, or 
dykes be, so that there be neither dyke, underwood, nor bush whereby 
a man may lurk to do hurt, near to the way, within 200 foot of the 
one side, and 200 foot on the other side of the way, so that this 
statute shall not extend unto oaks, nor unto great trees, so as to be 
clear underneath. And if by default of the lord that will not abate 
the dyke, underwood or bushes, in the manner aforesaid, any 
robberies be done therein, the lord shall be answerable for the felony ; 
and if murder be done, the lord shall make a fine at the king's pleasure. 
And if the lord be not able to fell the underwoods, the country shaL 
aid him therein. And the king willeth, that in his demense lands 
and woods within his forest and without, the ways shall be enlarged 
as before is said. And if percase a park be near to the highway, it 
is requisite that the lord shall minis h his park, so that there be a 
boarder of 200 foot near the highway, as before is said, or that he 
make such a wall, dyke or hedge, that offenders may not pass in 
return to do evil." 

This was not a widening of " highways " such as now understood, 
it was merely clearing the sides of highways, much as the sides 
of railways were cleared during the last rising in Poland. (See 

By 24 Henry VIII, cap. 2 — " An Acte for paving the highwaye betweene 
the Stronde Crosse and Charyng Crosse—" it is recited : — 

" In moost humble wise shewe and beseche your highnes, your 
poore subjects, the inhabitauntes dwelling in the parisshes of Seynt 
Martine in the fielde next Charing Crosse, our lady at Stronde, and 
Seynt Clement Danes without Temple Barre of London, in your 
countie of Middlesex : that where the comon highway betweene 
Charinge Cross aforesaid, and the Strond Crosse is very noyous and 
fowle, and in many places thereof very jeoperdous to all your liege 

* " The great Roman highways did not exceed 1 5 feet in breadth, and were 
sometimes a foot or two less [12 feet]. In constructing them, the earth was 
excavated till a solid foundation was obtained, or, in swampy places, a foundation 
was obtained by driving piles. Over this, which was called the gremium, four 
courses or strata were laid, namely the statumen, the rudus f the nucleus, and the 
pavimentum. The statumen, which rested on the gremium, consisted of loose 
stones of a moderate size. The rudus or rubble- work over this, about 9 inches 
thick, was composed of broken stones, cemented with lime. The nucleus, half- 
a-foot thick, was made with pottery broken into small pieces, and also cemented 
with lime. Over ail was the pavimentum, or pavement, consisting of large 
polygonal blocks of hard stone . . . nicely fitted together, so as to present a 
smooth surface. The road was somewhat elevated in the centre, to allow the 
water to run off, and on each side were raised footpaths covered with gravel. 
At certain intervals were blocks of stone to enable a horseman to mount." 

Roads so constructed are of such extraordinary durability, that portions of 
some more than 1,000 years old are still in a high state of preservation. — Dtbr'b 

Home (1865) , p. 92. But in Britain the Roman roads were either intentionally 

de§trojed or allowed speedily to get out of repair. 

the World : Past and Present. 







Table VIII. — Defective Transport — Contd. 

people that wayes passing and repassing, aswell on horsebacke as on 
foote bothe wynter and in somer, by nyght and by day. The verry 
occasion whereof hath ben and yet is that the landholders and owners 
of all the landes and tenents next adjoining on both sides of the 
seid common highwaye be and have been remisse and negligent, and 
also refuse and will not make and support the said highway with 
pavying, every of them after the porcion of his grounde adjoyning to 
the same high waies : and forasmoche mooste gracious seuveraigne 
lord as the said highwaye is and hath ben of contynuance greatly 
occupied aswell with your subjectes and with their cartes and 
cariages reparinge to and from your citie of London, frome dyvers 
parties of this your realme, as with your subjects passing and 
repassing to and from the towne of Westminster, aboute the nodes 
of your lawes their kepte in the term season, which waye if it were 
sufficiently payed and made after the maner of the pavement of the 
strete betweene the said "Stronde and Temple Barre it should not 
only then be a greate comforte to all your subjects thereabouts 
dwelling, but also to all your other liege people that wayes passing 
and repassing." 

It was then enacted that the owners of lands adjoining the said 
highway should pave the same, and keep the same paved. Justices 
at Michaelmas term each year to inquire into default. 

In the following year there was an " Acte for pavyng Holbourne," 
which recited that the street was the common passage for all 
" caryages caryed from west and nor- west parties of the realme," and 
that " the waye is soo noyous and soo full of sloughs and other 
incumbrances that often tymes many of your subjects rydyog through 
the said strette and way be m joperdie of hurte, and have almost 
perysshed;" but here the road had before this time been a 
reasonably good one. 

There was enacted 2 and 3 Philip and Mary, cap. 8 — " An Act for the 
mending of highways " — which recited, " Being now both very noisom 
and tedious to travel in, and dangerous to all passengers and 
carriages ;" and then enacted " that every parish within the realm 
should, upon the Tuesday or Wednesday in Easter week, appoint two 
surveyors or orderers for one year, of the works for the amendment 
of the highways, in their parish leading to any market town." 
" And the said constables and churchwardens shall then also name 
and appoint four days for the mending of the said ways, before the 
feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist then next following, 
and shall openly in the church the next Sunday after Easter, give 
knowledge of the same four days ; and upon the said days the 
parishioners shall endeavor themselves to the amending of the said 
ways," that is to say certain some of the parishioners occupying land 
and owning horses, and also housekeepers, were to supply horses, 
carts, and labour during these days, under the directions of the 
said surveyor. (See 1562 and 1587.) 

By 5 Elizabeth cap. 13, the Act of 1555 was continued, and authority 
was given to take material for mending the roads from any land 
convenient, so that the opening made for this purpose be not more 
than 10 yards over at the most,; the same to be filled up again 
within one month ; and it was recited : — 

" 5. And forasmuch as the highways in sundry places of this realm 
be full of continual springs .and water-courses, by continued increase 
and sinking thereof into the ground, the side ways are not only very 
deep and dangerous, but also for the most part impossible to be 
amended and repaired in any good and sufficient manner without 
some further remedy provided for the same." 

Power was therefore given to turn water-covrwea v&to ^atoSftSfc 
adjoining highways. (See 1576.) 


Walford — On the Famines of 









Table VIII. — Defective Transport— Contd. 

On the authority of Stow, this is the year when coaches were first 
introduced, thus : — 

"In the year 1564, Ouilliam Boonen, a Dutchman, became the 
queen's coachman, and was the first that brought the use of coaches 
into England. After awhile, divers great ladies, with as great 
jealousy of the queen's displeasure, made their coaches, and rid up 
and down the countries in them, to the great admiration of all the 
beholders ; but then by little and little they grew usual among the 
nobility and others of sort, and within twenty years became a great 
trade of coachmoking." 

Haydn says coaches were first introduced into England in 1553 [it 
is recorded that Charles of Anjou's Queen entered Naples in a 
caretta about 1282], while another author asserts that a Bill was 
brought into Parliament in 1601 [reign of Elizabeth], to prevent the 
effeminancy of men riding in coaches ; and that it was repealed in 
1625. We do not trace either of these measures. 

Stow also says that at this date long waggons travelled on some of 
the high roads in the south of England. (See 1605.) 

By 18 Elizabeth, cap. 10, " An Act of addition unto the former Acts 
for amending and repairing of highways." This Act gives the 
following account of the condition of a road in the Isle of Sheppy, 
in the county of Kent, then much in use : — 

" And forasmuch as the usual highway leading from the market town 
called Middle ton, to the said ferry, is presently in such decay, that 
neither man nor beast without great danger is able to pass, whatever 
necessity should suddenly happen for men to repair into or out of 
this said isle, and the parish where the same lieth is not able to 
repair the same." 

It was therefore enacted that the inhabitants be taxed for the 
repair of the same. 

The Rev. William Harrison, who wrote an historical description of the 
Island of Britain, prefixed to HolingshecFs Chronicle, published at 
this date — being in many things, a shrewd observer, " thought it would 
be good if it were enacted that each one should keep his next market 
with his grain, and not to run 6, 8, 10, 14, or 20 miles from home to 
sell his corn, where he doth find the highest price." Such were the 
notions of this period. 

By 29 Elizabeth, cap. 5, the Act of 1555 was continued, " all which 
Acts above mentioned [including inter alia this] are by proof and 
experience tried and found to be very necessary and profitable for 
the commonwealth of the realm." 

The queen died at 2 o'clock in the morning of Thursday, 24th March, 
and James was proclaimed king in London the same morning. But 
the news did not reach the city of York until Sunday, 27th March. 
Continuation of Stow*s Annals. 

Long waggons for passengers and commodities travelled from London 
to Canterbury and other large towns. — Stow. 

At this time the communication between the north of England and 
the universities was kept up by carriers, who pursued their tedious 
but uniform route with whole trains of pack horses. To their care 
were consigned not only the packages but frequently the persons of 
young scholars. It was through their medium also that epistolary 
correspondence was managed ; and as they always visited London, a 
letter could scarcely be exchanged between Yorkshire and Oxford in 
less time than a month. — Vide The Historian of Craven. 

Navigable rivers. — The Thames was made navigable to Oxford. This 
is the first noticeable step in inland navigation in Great Britain. We 
have to wait another century and a quarter for the introduction of 
canals, which completed the means of water communication through 

the interior of the country. (See 1759^ 

the World : Past and Present. 




0«7 . . . . 

'60 .... 

'62 .... 

63 ... 

Table VIII. — Defective Transport — Contd. 

In view of facilitating communication, Charles I resolved this year 
upon the establishment of the home post office. He says in his 
proclamation, that there has been no certain communication between 
England and Scotland ; and he therefore commands a running post 
to be established between London and Edinburgh, to go thither, and 
come back again in six days ; and for other roads there was promised 
the same advantages. 

From the diary of Sir William Dugdale, it appears that he this year 
set forward to London in the Coventry coach on the 2nd May, and 
arrived on the 4th May, three days. 

The General Post Office was established by Act of Parliament, and all 
letters were to be sent through this office, " except such letters as 
shall be sent by coaches, common known carriers of goods by carts, 
waggons, and pack-horses respectively." The Postmaster- G-eneral 
and his deputies, under this statute, and no other persons, "shall 
provide and prepare houses and furniture, to let to hire unto all 
through posts and persons riding in post, by commission or without, 
to and from all and every the places of England, Scotland, and 
Ireland, where any post roads are." The postmaster was to furnish 
a guide with a horn to such as ride post. 

The 14 Charles II, cap. 6 — " An Act for enlarging and repairing of 
common highways " — which recites, " whereas the former lawes and 
statutes for the mending and repairing of the common and publick 
highways of this realm have not been found so effectual as is desired, 
by means whereof, and the extraordinary burthen carried upon 
waggons and other carriages, diverse of the said highwayes are become 
very dangerous and almost impassable." It then proceeds to apply 
remedies, much on the same lines as the former Acts. It contained 
the following : — 

" VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that 
from and after the 29th September which shall be in the yeare of 
our Lord 1662, no travelling waggon, wayn, cart, or carriage 
wherein any burthen, goods or wares are or shall be carried or drawn 
for hire (other than such carts and carriages as are employed in and 
about husbandry and manuring of lands, and in the carrying of hay, 
straw, come unthreshed, coal, chalk, timber for shipping, materials 
for building, stones of all sorts, ammunition or artillery, as shall be 
for His Majesty's service) shall att any one time travel, be drawn, or 
go in any common or public highway or road with above seaven 
horse beasts, whereof six shall draw in pairs, and not with above 
eight oxen or six oxen and two-horse beasts, nor shall at any time carry 
above 20 hundredweight between the 1st day of October, and 
7th May, nor above 30 hundredweight betweene the 1st May, and 
the 1st October (except such particulars as aforesaid), nor above 
5 quarters of wheat, meal, mesline, rye, pease, beans, and tares, nor 
above 8 quarters of barley, malt, or oats, and after that proportion ; 
nor shall any waggon, wayne, cart or carriage for the uses aforesaid 
be employed, the wheels whereof are lesse in breadth than 4 inches 
of the tyre." 

Upon penalty of 40*. Then follow powers of rating for repair of 
highways, &c. Owners of ironworks, and persons within the wilds 
of Surrey, Sussex, and Kent were not to be exempted from the opera- 
tions of this Act. (See 1741.) 

Turnpikes. — These were first set up this year; and this indicates a 
new era in the matter of improved highroads. Tolls had been 
previously levied by lords of manors, as one penny for every waggon 
that passed through ; but this does not appear to have implied any 
obligation to keep up a road ; probably its only justification was that 
some trespass was committed. The innovation, although. taa&& cm 
reason, was long unpopular, and turnpike Toada &\<1 nafc, , W*s , K\» «fe ^. 
general until after the peace of Paris in V76&. 


Walpoed — On the Famines of 


1663 ... 

'67 ... 

70 ... 

73 ... 
82 ... 

'91 ... 

W .. 


Table VIII. — Defective Transport — Contd. 

Mr. Edward Parker, writing to his father, who lived near Preston, says, 
" I got to London on Saturday last. My journey was no ways 
pleasant, being forced to ride in the boot all the way. The company 
that came up with me were persons of quality, as knights and ladies. 
My journey s expense was 30*. This travel hath so indisposed me, 
that I am resolved never to ride up again in the coach." — Archceo* 
logia xx. 

Antony a Wood records in his diary that this year he travelled from 
Oxford to London in the coach, and was two days accomplishing the 

By 22 Charles II, cap. 12— "An additional Act for the better repairing 
of highways and bridges "- — which recited, " for the better repairing 
and amending of the highways, now generally spoiled by the 
extraordinary and unreasonable loading of waggons, and other 
carriages, and the neglect of repairing and preserving the same," 
the several Acts in force relating to highways were to be carried into 
execution. The clause in the Act of 1662, as to the width of wheels 
was repealed. Travelling waggons, wains, &c., carrying goods were 
•to be drawn with but five horses at length. It also recites : — 

"XIII. And whereas in the counties of Chester and Lancaster 
there are many and sundry great and deep rivers ; which run across 
and through the common and publick highways and roads within 
the said counties, which many times cannot be passed over without 
hazard and loss of the lives and goods of the inhabitants and 
travellers within the said counties, for want of convenient post and 
sufficient bridges in the said highways and roads, to build and erect 
which there is no law now in force" 

It was then enacted that bridges were to be built in these counties 
within ten years. There were special provisions as to the Usk and 
Bassolegg bridges. 

It appears that the longest journeys which were made in England at 
this date were to Exeter, Chester, or York. 

The diary of a Yorkshire clergyman shows that in the winter of this 
year a journey from Nottingham to London in a stage-coach occupied 
four whole days. Q.uoted in Archteologia xx. 

The 3 William and Mary, cap. 12 — " An Act for the better repairing 
and amending the highways, and for settling the rates of carriage of 
goods " — recites :— 

" Whereas the free and easy intercourse and means of conveying 
and carrying goods and merchandises from one market town to 
another, constitutes very much to the advancement of trade, increase 
of wealth, and raising the value of lands, as well to the ease and 
convenience of the subjects in general ; for which ends divers good 
and necessary laws have been heretofore made for the enlarging, 
repairing, and amending the highways and common roads of this 
kingdom. Notwithstanding which laws, the same are not in many 
parts sufficiently amended and repaired, but remain almost impass- 
able ; all which is occasioned, not only by reason of some ambiguities 
in the said laws, but by want of a sufficient provision to compel the 
execution of the same." 

It was then enacted that all laws about highways were to be put 
in execution. Trees, bushes, and shrubs were to be pruned, so as 
not to hang over the highways. 

"XV. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the 
surveyors of the highways shall and are hereby required to make 
every cartway leading to any market town, 8 feet wide at the 
least, and as near as may be even and level." 
Horse causeways not to be less that " 3 feet in breadth." 

By 8 and 9 William III, cap. 16 — "An Act for enlarging common 
highways " — powers were given for carrying out the requirements of 

the World : Past and Present 



1697 .... 

1700 .... 
'25 .... 

t>TD .... 

t>y .... 


Tablb VIII. — Defective Transport — Contd. 

the Act of 1691. Justices at quarter sessions should have powers for 
making highways y feet wide, and to order timber to be. cut down for 
such purpose. Stones or posts were to be erected at cross roads, with 
name of next market town thereon. 

" Till the beginning of the eighteenth century, we were almost wholly 
an equestrian people."— Knight's Once upon a Time, p. 110. 

The stage coach journey from London to Exeter occupied four summer 
days. The passengers were aroused every morning at 2 o'clock, left 
their inns at 3, dined at 10 o'clock a.m., and finished their day's 
journey at 3 in the afternoon. — Vide Mrs. Manley's Journey. 

The 7 G-eorge II, cap. 9 — " An Act to explain and make more effectual 
the laws in being, to oblige the possessors of lands adjacent to common 
highways to cut and keep low such hedges as are adjoining to the 
said highways" — recites : — 

"Whereas the making the common highways as commodious as 
may be, tends greatly to the ease and safety of his majesty's subjects, 
and to the advantages of trade and commerce ; and whereas in many 
places the common highways are greatly damaged by the hedges 
adjoining thereto being of such height as to hinder thereby the 
advantages which would otherwise accrue to the said highways by 
sun and winds ; and whereas some doubts have arisen, whether in 
such cases the laws in being have provided a sufficient remedy." 

Surveyors were therefore authorised to cut hedges within 3 feet 
of the bank on owner's refusal to do so. The Act was not to alter 
the laws with regard to timber trees growing in hedges, nor any law 
for amending the highways. 

Mr. Andrew Thompson, of Glasgow, with a friend, left that city to 
ride to London. There was no turnpike road until they came to 
Grantham, within 110 miles of the metropolis. Up to that point 
they travelled on a narrow causeway, with an unmade soft road on 
each side. As strings of pack-horses met them from time to time, 
they were obliged to plunge into the side road, and had often 
difficulty in scrambling up again upon the causeway. — Cleland's 

"There is no such conveyance as a waggon in this country 
(Scotland), and my finances were too weak to support the expense of 
hiring a horse. I determined therefore to set out with the carriers, 
who transport goods from one place to another on horseback ; and 
this scheme I accordingly put in execution on the first day of 
November, 1739 ; sitting upon a pack-horse between two baskets, one 
of which contained my goods in a knapsack. But by the time we 
arrived at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I was so fatigued with the tedious- 
ness of the carriage, and benumbed with the coldness of the weather, 
that I resolved to travel the rest of my journey on foot rather than 
proceed in such a disagreeable manner." — Smollett's Roderick 

The 14 George II, cap. 42 — "An Act for the preservation of the 
publick roads in that part of G-reat Britain called England" — 
recited that the highways of this kingdom were " greatly damaged 
and made ruinous by the excessive weights carried thereon." 
Weighing machines might be erected at tollgates, and carriages and 
goods might be weighed, a fine of 20*. a hundred for all above 
6,000 lbs. weight, and applied to mending the roads. There were 
many exceptions to which this Act was not to apply. 

By 16 George II, cap. 29, carts were allowed to be drawn with four 

The Duke of Somerset, who died this year, was always compelled, by 
the badness of the cross-roads, to sleep at Guildford on his way from 
Petworth to London. A letter of one of the DuW* «bt?«c&a \» 
another servant, announces his master's iiitoT&Vaii to vms* *&» 


"Walford— On the Famines of 


1748 .... 



'51 .... 

56 .... 

'59 .... 

Table VIII. -Defective Transport — Contd, 

Petworth from London, and adds directions that " the keepers and 
others who knew the holes and sloughs, must come to meet his grace, 
with lanthorns and long poles, to help him on his way." 

The only road to the houses of parliament at this date (reign of 
G-eorge II) was through King-street and Union- street, " which were 
in so miserable a state, that fagots were thrown into the ruts on the 
days on which the king went to parliament, to render the passage of 
the state coach more easy." Again, the present St. Margaret's Street 
was formed out of a thoroughfare known as St. Margaret's Lane, 
which was so narrow that " pales were obliged to be placed 4 feet 
high between the footpath and the coach-road, to preserve the 
passengers from injury, and from being covered with the mud which 
was splashed on all sides in abundance." — Smith's Westminster, 
pp. 261 and 262. 

" This rapid growth of manufactures brought a corresponding im- 
provement in the means of communication throughout the country. 
Up to this time these had been of the rudest sort. The roads were 
for the most part so wretched that all cheap and rapid transit was 
impossible, and the cotton bales of Manchester were carried to 
Liverpool or Bristol on pack-horses. One of the great works of this 
period was the covering England with a network of splendid high- 
ways. But roads alone could not meet the demands of the new 
commerce. The engineering genius of Brindley joined Manchester 
with its port of Liverpool in 1761 by a canal which crossed the 
Irwell on a lofty aqueduct, and the success of the experiment soon 
led to the universal introduction of water-carriage. Canals linked 
the Trent with the Mersey, the Thames with the Trent, the Forth 
with the Clyde." — Gbeen's Short History of the English People, 
p. 768. 

By 24 George II, cap. 43 — " An Act for the more effectual preserva- 
tion of the turnpike roads in that part of Great Britain called 
England, &c." — it is recited : — 

" Whereas great sums of money have been expended in amending 
and repairing the turnpike roads of this kingdom, yet the said roads 
cannot be kept in sufficient repair, and are in many places become 
ruinous by the great and excessive weights which the number of 
horses now allowed by law to draw waggons and other carriages 
enable carriers and other persons using the said roads to carry upon 
the same." 

For remedy whereof certain stringent regulations were imposed 5 
and there was a penalty for driving waggons out of turnpike roads to 
avoid tolls. 

Canals. — Mr. Josiah Tucker, in the fourth edition of his " Essay on 
Trade," published this year, strongly advocated the cutting of 
canals between the great trading towns of the kingdom "for the 
conveniency and cheapness of carriage." He considers these much 
preferable to making rivers navigable. " They are kept and repaired 
at a much easier rate. They are not subject to inundations, or the 
shifting of the sand or gravel, and are generally much shorter and 
straighter. But what is above every other consideration, a boat laden 
with merchandise in a canal may be drawn by a single horse, on a 
full trot, as in Holland, up or down stream, whether there be flood or 
not ; and requires but two men to guide it." A canal between 
Beading and Bath " would make an easy and cheap communication 
between the two principal cities of the kingdom, London and Bristol. 
G-oods and passengers might be carried at one quarter of the present 
expense .... if the like situation had been in France, a canal 
had been made long ago." 

The Duke of Bridgewater's great canal was commenced. This was 
the practical commencement oi canal raTOga&oii \n Qro&t. Britain. 

the World : Past and Present. 







Table VIII.— Defective Transport— Contd. 

France had anticipated us by three parts of a century. The 
Caermarthenshire canal was opened in 1756, and the Droitwich canal 
the same year. 
There was a coach once a month from Edinburgh to London, which 
was twelve to fourteen days on the road. 

Mr. M'Culloch says, " It was not till after the Peace of Paris in 
1763, that turnpike roads began to be extended to all parts of the 
kingdom, and that the means of internal communication began, in 
consequence, to be signally improved." — Account of the British 

Mr. G-. R. Porter, in the Companion to the British Almanack 
(1837), writing of this same period, says : — 

" A gentleman now living at Horsham, in Sussex, has stated on the 
authority of a person whose father carried on the business of a butcher 
in that town, that in his time the only means of reaching London was 
either by going on foot or on horseback ; the latter method not being 
practicable at all periods of the year, nor in every state of the 
weather ; and that the roads were never at that time in such a con- 
dition as to admit sheep or cattle being driven upon them to the 
London markets : for which reason the farmers were prevented sending 
thither the produce of their lands, the immediate neighbourhood being 
in fact their only market. Under these circumstances the quarter of 
a fat ox. was commonly sold for about 15*., and the price of mutton 
was 1 ±d. per pound." 
In Arthur Young's Tour in the North of England, published this 
year, there is the following statement as to the condition of the turn- 
pike road between Preston and Wigan : — 

"I know not in the whole range of language terms sufficiently 
expressive to describe this infernal road. To look over a map and 
perceive that it is a principal one, not only to some towns, but even 
whole counties, one would naturally conclude it to be at least decent ; 
but let me most seriously caution all travellers who may accidentally 
propose to travel this terrible county to avoid it as they would the 
devil: for a thousand to one but they break their necks or their 
limbs by overthrows or breakings down. They will here meet with 
ruts which I actually measured 4 feet deep, and floating with mud 
only from a wet summer ; what therefore must it be after a winter ? 
The only mending it in places receives is the tumbling in some loose 
stones, which serve no other purpose but jolting a carriage in the 
most intolerable manner. These are not merely opinions, but facts, 
for I actually passed three carts broken down in these 18 miles of 
execrable memory." 
Dr. Johnson — "the great Dr. Johnson" — was visited at this date by 
the Right Honourable William Windham, at Ashbourne (Derbyshire), 
where he had gone for the benefit of his health, and Mr. Windham 
made a note of various points in the conversation, amongst which is 
the following :~ 

" Opinion about the effect of turnpike roads. Every place com- 
municating with each other. Before there were cheap places and dear 
places. Now, all refuges are destroyed for elegant or genteel poverty. 
Disunion of families, by furnishing a market to each man's ability, 
and destroying the dependence of one man upon another.'" 


* Mr. Porter in his Progress of the Nation states that when it was in con- 
templation to extend the turnpike roads from the metropolis to more distant 
points than those to which they had been before carried, the farmers in the 
metropolitan counties petitioned parliament against this plan, fearing lest their 
market being invaded by so many competitors, who 'woxjld ad&. Vtasa* ^ftsafcaa 
more cheaply, they should be ruined! — Book II, section $. 


Walford — On the Famines of 





Table VIIL — Defective Transport — Contd. 

Steamboats. — The first steamboat — the Comet— sailed upon the Clyde, 
18th January this year. This was the initiation of a world-wide 
system of rapid transit. 

Railroads. — The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway on 
15th September this year marks the practical commencement of the 
new era in locomotion in the United Kingdom. In a few years they 
made the country one in the matter of food supplies. 

There was a famine in Mexico this year, arising from drought and the 
consequent scarcity of maize. Mr. Bullock (Across Mexico, 1864-65) 
says, " The plain of El Bajio is emphatically the garden of Mexico, 
and might become the granary of the whole country but for the 
absence of roads, which renders the transport of grain in large 
quantities an impossibility. As it is, the great towns can only be 
supplied from their own immediate environs, which is a bad look out 
for the city of Mexico, surrounded as it is by unproductive marshes. 
In consequence of this lamentable state of things, which railway 
communication alone can remedy, famine may be raging in the 
capital, while the farmers of the Bajio — less than 200 miles distant — 
are at their wits' end to know how to dispose of their superabundant 

Tramways. — These are regarded as modern appliances, but as early 
as 1602 tramways (with rails of wood) were constructed from f o ne of 
the collieries round Newcastle-upon-Tyne down to the river. Ihs first 
accurate description of these which we have met with is that given 
in the life of Lord Keeper North, published 1676. 

" The manner of the carriage is by laying rails of timber from the 
colliery to the river, exactly straight and parallel, and bulky carts are 
made with four rollers fitting those rails, whereby the carriage is so 
easy that one horse will draw four or five chaldron of coals, and is an 
immense benefit to the coal merchants." 

At Whitehaven as early as 1738 iron rails were substituted for 
those of wood. Here was the germ of our future railways. But 
these incipient projects did nothing to help forward the cause of 
internal locomotion, and it is a century later that we must look for 
their aid in this respect. 

Tramways are only adapted to the thickly populated districts, and 
for purposes of transport of food products cannot compete with 
canals or railroads. 

IX. — Legislative Interference. 

Nothing was more natural in early times and under a monarchial 
form of government, than that arbitrary measures should be taken 
in view of lessening if not of averting calamities in regard to the 
food supply, although nothing was more certain than that in the 
end these would prove utterly fallacious. The first idea would be 
that as one section of the people required food products which 
another section had in superabundance, that the latter should be 
made to supply the former, and in so doing not to take any undue 
advantage of their necessities. This would lead up to the dogma 
of fixed prices for various articles of ordinary requirement ; in the 
expressing of which many principles of natural justice would 
certainly be outraged. 

The first location wherein such experiments would be tried 
would probably be in the vicinity of the royal residence, where 

the World : Past and Present. 121 

the king's purveyors wo aid speedily learn of scarcity, and of 
consequent advance of prices. 

In an insular situation like our own we should not long remain 
uninfluenced by external supplies, and hence a system of regulating 
imports and exports would become necessary ; for if the holders of 
supplies here could make a market for them elsewhere, they would 
seek to avoid the restrictive influence of fixed prices at home. So 
also if a superabundance of supplies prevailed in neighbouring 
countries, rendering it advantageous to bring these in and sell 
them at the fixed prices, or below them, confusion or dissatisfaction 
would arise. This would necessitate legislative restrictions as to 
our external commerce. 

There would thus come to be two sets of legislative restrictions 
in operation ; and it would be certain that in different parts of the 
kingdom different influences as to supply and demand must arise, 
and hence the system might become further hampered with local 
or municipal regulations. 

But yet another difficulty might and would arise. It would 
become apparent that periods of scarcity would necessarily cause 
some relaxation of the most stringent rules as to prices ; hence the 
owners of non-perishable products would resort to storing these 
away in view of securing the enhanced price consequent upon 
periodical scarcity. But this process carried on by a number of 
persons would be certain to affect prices, and complaints would 
ensue. This would lead to the adoption of further legislation ; and 
forestallers, and engrossers, and regrators would be restrained in 
their practice by the strong arm of the law. 

Here we should have another, a third, link in the chain of 
legislation : 1. Holders of consumable produce at home must sell 
to consumers at home at fixed prices ; 2. There must be no selling 
to or buying from persons abroad, for that would upset the notion 
of fixed prices ; 3. Further, the produce must be consumed pari 
passu as it is produced — there must be no saving up for a rainy 
day, because that too upsets fixed prices, opens, indeed, the door to 

But this is all " fine weather " legislation ; what is to be done 
when supplies fail at home ? Answer, open the ports and invite 
the foreigner to come in ; English money will speedily bring him to 
our gates. So it has often happened. 

Again, periods of scarcity pass away, abundant harvests prevail ; 
there is a plethora of grain. Further, other countries are in want 
of supplies, and the money which would be so obtained would be 
of service here. What now is to be done ? Our ships are freighted, 
a good price is obtained, the trade is found profitable to all 
concernod, and it increases rapidly. By means of this new outlet, 

122 Walford-— On the Famines of 

a stimulus is given to our agriculture ; the prosperity of the 
country is seen to be rapidly developing ; and finally (1688) we 
begin to pay a bounty to our own growers for every quarter of 
grain they send away from our shores. 

It must not be supposed that the process last detailed has gone 
on smoothly during the several centuries which are embraced in 
this introductory review. There were frequent intervening periods 
of scarcity. During some of these the ingenuity of parliament 
was taxed to the uttermost to devise a remedy suited to'the occasion, 
and yet not calculated to overthrow the purely artificial system 
which the legislature in its want of wisdom had set up. The 
solution was found in the adoption of a graduated scale of prices ; 
when grain rose beyond a certain indicated price here (at home) no 
more was to go out ; but if the pressure were extreme, the ships of 
the foreigner might come in. When grain fell below a certain 
fixed price, the ships of the foreigner must be barred from our 
ports, while our own might sail away freely. 

It is but too apparent that under such a makeshift system of 
legislation all commerce was a system of restriction, evasion, and 
compromise, resting upon the fallacious belief that one nation's 
gain was another's loss, and that commercial advantage was only to 
be measured by the balance of coin received for commodities, and 
not by the exchange of the useful products of industry, varying 
with the peculiar soil, climate, and manners of the exchangers. 

Nor was this all. There were our continental neighbours 
looking on, and we may be sure looking on to their own advantage. 
The Dutch, ever keenly alive to their own interests, and deeply 
skilled in finance and in many of the other problems associated 
with successful commerce ; and this too almost centuries before 
ourselves. Those Dutchmen many times stored the wheat which 
the government bounty to our growers enabled them to sell at a 
cheaper rate than the average European price, and sold it to us 
again in dear seasons at a large profit ! 

But it was not only the Dutch with whom we were playing at 
cross-purposes. There were portions of our own kingdom, to wit, 
Scotland and Ireland, against whom we set up legislative barriers 
of the most restrictive character, and they appear frequently to have 
retaliated upon us in kind. The mass of legislation which ensued 
as a consequence was simply appalling. I have not been able to 
make an exhaustive analysis of the Scotch and Irish Acts as 
bearing upon grain imports and exports, but I have reviewed 
perhaps enough of them to indicate their general scope. It is 
however, to be noticed that the first example of legislative wisdom 
in encouraging exports of which we find any record occurred in 
Ireland in 1323-24 ; and still further, the inhabitants of some of 

the World : Past and Present. 123 

the islands of the English seas, as that of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, 
Ac, which depended upon parfcs of this country to a greater or lesser 
extent for their grain supplies, stood in great peril of being starved, 
by reason of our constantly changing laws and regulations 
regarding exports. Special provisions had to be made for their 
sustenance ; nor were they always loyal to us, for grain which was 
shipped in view of their benefit was sometimes reshipped to 
those countries from whom we had excluded ourselves by our legis- 
lation, to the great pecuniary advantage of the parties concerned. 

It will be observed that I nowhere contend that in periods of 
emergency the legislature should not step in and endeavour to deal 
with the necessities of the hour. We have high examples of such 
temporary restrictive regulations in connection with the more 
enlightened nations of antiquity.* My remarks are entirely directed 
to the folly, in my judgment, of attempting to regulate commerce 
to the subversion of the great principles of supply and demand. 
The extent to which this species of adverse legislation has been 
resorted to in past times (and there are some who would now have 
us try our hand at it again), can only be realised by reference to 
such detailed summaries as are given in the tables which follow. 
See especially Tables IX, X, and XII. 

Out of the desponding maze of legislation just reviewed, we 
suddenly emerge into a bright and cheering prospect. It was in 
1776 that Adam Smith published his "Wealth of Nations," a 
book that deserves to live, and will live as long as the human race 
shall last. A few sentences of its teachings are sufficient to dispel 
the illusions of all the legislation which had beset this question of 
famines (as also many other economic questions) during as many 
preceding centuries. Labour, he contended, was the one source 
of wealth ; and it was by suffering the worker to procure his own 
interest in his own way, that the public wealth would best 
be promoted. Any attempt to force labour into artificial channels, 
to shape by laws the course of commerce, to promote special branches 
of industry in particular countries, or to fix the character of the 
intercourse between one country and another, is not only a wrong 
to the worker, or the merchant, bat actually hurtful to the wealth 
of the State.f There was an undergraduate at Cambridge who 

* B.C. 350 — " The Selybrians were in want of money ; and as there was a law 
among them not to export corn in a season of famine, and they had stores of corn 
of the preceding year, they passed a decree that private persons should give tip 
their corn to the State at a fixed price, each leaving behind a year's supply ; then 
they gave leave to any one who chose to export it, affixing to it such a price as 
seemed good to them." — "Aristotle's Economics" (Bonn's translation), p. 312. 

f There were indeed several previous writers who had enforced like views, 
but had not reduced them to a science. See especially Table XI, date 1669 

124 Walford— On the Famines of 

read this book ; who became instilled with its philosophy ; his 
name was William Pitt. When he became prime minister, and 
while he so remained, the statute book ceased to be loaded with 
snch " Acts " of folly, as we have grown weary of recording. But 
it took yet another half-a-centnry to beat down the barriers of 
prejudice, and set up in their stead the electric illuminations of 
free trade as applied to the food" of the people, and to commerce in 

The details of the various legislative enactments of the English 
Honses of Parliament, of which the preceding outline is but a reflex, 
will be found amplified, with I hope sufficient exactness, in the three 
tables already referred to (IX, X, and XII), but in No. X more 
especially. This table I had hoped to supplement by a statistical 
return of the amount of grain and grain products collectively 
imported into, or exported from this kingdom, from the earliest date 
(1697) when any snch returns are accessible ; but I have found it 
impossible to obtain the required data, furnished on a uniform plan. 
It will be useful here to take a condensed view of the effect of 
the legislation embodied in Table X, as follows : — 

The several laws enacted previously to the year 1765 formed a 
system for regulating the grain trade upon the principle of restrain- 
ing importation, and encouraging exportation. In 1765, and each of 
the eight following years, laws were made prohibiting the export of 
grain, and allowing the import duty free. In 1773 a law was passed 
(13 George III, cap. 43) which established a new system with 
regard to the corn laws. The laws underwent further changes in 
each of the years 1791 and 1804. In 1815 an entire alteration 
took place in the system ; foreign corn had previously been 
admissible to home consumption for several centuries, on the 
payment of duty, but this was now entirely prohibited. Wheat 
might indeed be brought in free of duty when the price was over 
80s. per quarter ; but at other times it conld only be brought in 
and warehoused, to be used when the above limit of price was reached 
(with an exception in favour of the British Colonies in North 
America). In 1822 the same system was continued, the regulating 
price for wheat being lowered to 70s., and the consumption price for 
other kinds of grain was correspondingly reduced. 

The effects resulting from the various systems enumerated 
(omitting the free interchange with Ireland, see Table X, 1806), 
are shown in the following figures; which, however, can only 
commence with the date of the first returns available : 

the World : Past and Present 






of Imports. 

of Exports. 






68 years 






9 „ 






18 „ 






13 „ 






10 „ 






11 ,, 





Note. — The returns for 1813 are estimated at the mean of 1812-14 — the 
records of the custom house having been destroyed by fire. 

Another estimate made about this date, brought down to the 
year 1800, was as follows : — * 

The annual average importation of wheat into Eng- \ , 

land for twenty-five years, had been / * 

The annual average importation of wheat into Eng- "1 

land for the last ten years J 400,000 

Importation in the year ending September, 1800 900,000 

These 900,000 quarters were sold in our markets on") 

an average at 95*. per quarter, making j ™ '5,555 

Hour, rye, barley, and oats imported during the last "I 

year, amounting in value to upwards of J »7*4>445 

Making a total of 6,000,000 

It was estimated by the late Mr. J. R. McCulloch in the 
" Edinburgh Review" (1820), that a repeal of the restrictions on 
the importation of foreign corn would of itself, by permitting the 
consumers to import food from the cheapest markets, lead to a 
saying of 2 5 millions a-year in the purchase of the most indispens- 
able of all the necessaries of life ! Coming down to our own period, 
we now rely mainly upon imported grain supplies. The " Statis- 
" tical Abstract " states the imports of wheat and wheatmeal and 
flour into the United Kingdom in the year 1876 at 5 1,904,433 cwt. : — 
namely, 44,454,657 cwt. of grain, and 5,959,821 cwt. of meal and 
flour, to which last item an addition is made on the principle that 
1 cwt. of wheat flour is equal to 1 J cwt. of wheat in grain, so that 
the total is shown in weight of grain. This total was a larger 
quantity than in any previous year except 1875. Of this total no 
less than 22,223,403 cwt. came from the United States, being more 
than in any year except 1874 and 1875. The import from Russia 
in 1876 reached only 8,911,788 cwt., a quantity smaller than in any 
of the preceding ten years except 1874, and only about half the 
quantity of 1872. The " Statistical Abstract " does not distinguish 

* " Thoughts on Present Prices, 1800" ^ $1% 


WALrofiD — On the Famines of 

the amount of wheat imported from Australia or from India, but 
these sources of supply are rising into importance. Mr. Juland 
Dan vers, Government Director of the Indian railways, observes in 
his railway report (1877) that it would hardly have been thought 
possible twenty years ago that a granary for England would have 
been found in the valleys of the Granges, Jumna, and Indus ; but, 
notwithstanding their distance from a seaport, there bad been, 
during the last two years, a rapidly increasing production of grain 
in the provinces watered by those rivers, and a large export trade 
springing up. In 1871 the export of wheat was 248,522 cwt., in 
1876 it was 55583,336 cwt., which was sent chiefly to England. 
Mr. Danvers says : — 


When the fibres of Russia were denied to us during the Crimean war, India 
stepped in and supplied us with jute, and has continued to do so to an increasing 
extent ever since. The same may now happen with respect to wheat, barley, &c. 
A country with a soil and climate capable of producing corn, tea, and tobacco, as 
well as coffee, opium, sugar, indigo, and cotton, must possess powers which, with 
the assistance of regular and cheap transport, will be ready to meet any demand 
that may be made upon it.' 


It seems an anomaly that, with her famines on hand, India is 
able to supply food for other parts of the world ; but it has to be 
remembered that the natives there subsist very much on rice, and 
on inferior cereals designated as " dry crops," of which we know 
nothing in this country ; and then there is the internal transport 

The following table gives some important details regarding the 
quantity and source of a chief item in our food supplies : — 

The Supplies of Foreign Wheat and Flour brought into the United 
Kingdom during the Ten Years 1869-78, Reduced to Quarters. 

Contributed by 
the following Countries. 





Turkey, &c 


United States — 
Am. Atlantic .... 1 

,, Pacific J 


British N. America .. 

Other countries 

Austrian territories .. 
























































6 93>398 








the World : Past and Present. 

J 27 

Supplies of Foreign Wheat and Flour into the United Kingdom — Contd. 

Contributed by 
the following Countries. 





Turkey, &c 


United States — 
Am. Atlantic .... \ 

„ Pacific J 


British India 


British N. America.. 

Other countries 

Austrian territories .. 




9 1 9>37i 




SA l ^9^3 






















































Note. — For this table I am indebted to Mr. Henry M. Paul, a Fellow of this 
Society, who has drawn most of his data from the " Statistical Abstract." 

It is estimated that a good grain harvest in the British Empire 
and dependencies, and in those countries from which we draw our 
food supplies, means an aggregate bounty of some 200 millions 
sterling, " poured from the heavens into the earth's treasury." 

Turning to other articles of food, in 1875 the inhabitants of 
the United Kingdom consumed 1,186,641 cwt. of beef from im- 
ported live cattle; 454,007 cwt. of mutton from imported live 
sheep ; 7 1 ,92 7 cwt. of pork from imported live swine 53,11 4,809 cwt. 
of imported dead meat — i.e., bacon, pork, hams, cured beef, &c. ; 
15,820,006 cwt. of home-grazed beef; 8,701,451 cwt. of home-raised 
mutton ; and 4,348,944 cwt. of home-bred pork ; the total con- 
sumption of meat (exclusive of poultry, game and other meat not 
classified with butcher's meat) of the United Kingdom being 
33,697,785 cwt. A reduction of id. per pound (the lowest estimated 
present rate of overcharge by retail traders to their customers) on 
this vast quantity of meat would result in a yearly saving to the 
whole country of 31,451,2642. is. Sd. 

The value of the imports of meat and provisions in 1854 was 
5,782,164/. ; of grain and flour 21,760,282/. — total 27,542,447/. In 
1878 the value of meat and provisions imported reached 30,364,853/. ; 
of grain and flour 58,372,624/.— total 88,737,477/. 

All this is but a mere glance at the interesting problems 
associated with our modern food supplies. 



Walpoed— On the Famines of 

Table IX. — (Internal Regulations). Imperial and Municipal Restrictions 

on the Price of Food and Dealings therein. 

Corn lias provided a common article of food from the earliest ages of 
the world ; and the baking of bread was known in the patriarchal 
ages. — See Exodus xii, 15. 



8 John. The first statute in England regulating the sale of bread, as 
to its weight and price, was the Assisa Pants of this year. The chief 
justiciary and a baker commissioned by the king had the inspection 
of the assize. — Matthew Pabis. 

We have never met with an authentic copy of this reported statute, 
and we therefore prefer to fall back upon that of A.D. 1266 
(51 Henry III) as given in the Statutes of the Realm. 
The statute we find under this date is usually designated the Assisa 
Panis et Cervisie (the assize of bread and ale) , and mostly embodies 
the following introductory paragraph, " The king, to whom all these 
presents shall come, greeting: We have seen certain ordinances of 
the assize of bread and ale, and of the making of money and 
measure, made in the times of our progenitors, sometimes kings of 
England in these words." Then follows the enactment, as translated 
from the Latin. 

When a quarter of wheat is sold for xii d. then wastel bread of a 
farthing shall weigh vi I. and xvj *. But bread cockit [of a farthing] 
of the same coin and bushel, shall weigh more than wastel by ii *. ; 
and [cocket bread] made of corn of lower price shall weigh more 
than wastel by v*. Bread made into a simnel shall weigh ii*. less 
than wastel [because it is twice baked]. Bread made of the whole 
wheat shall weigh a cocket and a half, that is to say, a cocket shall 
weigh more than a wastel by v s. Bread of treet shall weigh ii wastels. 
And bread of [all sorts of common] shall weigh two great cockets. 

When a quarter of wheat is sold for xviii d. then wastel bread of a 
farthing, white and well baked, shall weigh iv I. x s. viii d. 

When for ii * iii li. viii *. 

ii *. vi d. liv *. iv d. ob. q. 

iii* [xlviii*.] 

iii*. vid. [xiii*.] 

iv* [xxxvi*.] 

iv *. vi d . xxx *. 

v* xxvii*. iid. ob. 

v *. vi d. xxiv *. viii d. q. 

vi* xxii*. viiid. 

vi *. vi d. xx *. xi d. 

vii* xiv*. [id.'] 

vii *. vi d. xviii *. id. ob. 

viii* xvii*. 

viii*. vid. xvi. 

ix* xv*. q. 

ix*. vid. xiv*. ivd.ob.q. 

x* xiii*. viiid. 

x *. vid. xii *. xi d. q. 





When for xi *. vi d. xi *. x d. 

xii* xi*. iv. d. 

xii*. vid. io*. \o\d. 

xiii* io*. $\d. 

xiii*. vid. io*. -id, 

xiiii* 9*. $d. 

xiiii*. vid. 9*. i\d. 

xv* 9*. id. 

xv*. vid. 8*. $\d. 

xvi* 8*. 6d. 

xvi*. vid. 8*. z$d. 

xvii* 8*. 

xvii*. vid. 7*. $id. 

xviii * 7*. 6fd. 

xviii*. vid. 7*. ^\d. 

xix* 7*. id. 

xix*. vid. 6s. u±d. 

xx* 6s. 9$<Z. 

xi* xii*. ivd. q. 

Gain to the Baker. — And it is to be known, that then a baker in 
every quarter of wheat, as is proved by the king's bakers, may gain 
vi d. and the bran and two loves [for advantage], for three servants 
id. ob., for two lads ob. t in salt ob. t for kneading ob., for candle q, for 
wood [ii d.~\ for his butel ob. 

Assise of Ale. — When a quarter of wheat is sold for iii*. or 
iii *. iv d. t and a quarter of barley for xx d. or ii *., and a quarter of 
oats for xvi d. } then brewers in cities ought and may well afford to 
/ sell two gallons of beer or ale fox a penny, and out of cities to sell 

the World : Past and- Present. 




76 .... 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Foodr—Contd. 

iii [or iv] gallons for a penny, and when in a town iii gallons are 
sold for a penny, out of a town they ought and may sell four ; and 
this assise ought to be holden throughout all England. 

Punishment of a Baker or Brewer Transgressing the Assise. — And 
if a baker or brewer be convicted that they have not kept the fore- 
said assises, the first, second, and third time they shall be amerced 
according to the quantity of their offence ; and that as often as a 
baker shall offend in the weight of a farthing loaf of bread not above 
ij s. weight, that then he be amerced as before is said ; but if he 
exceeds ij*. then [he is to be set upon] the pillory without any 
redemption of money. In like manner shall it be done if he offend 
oftentimes and will not amend, then he shall suffer the judgment of 
the body, that is to say, the pillory if he offend in the weight of a 
farthing loaf under two shillings weight as is aforesaid. Likewise 
the woman brewer shall be punished by the tumbrell, trebuchit, or 
castigatorie, if she offend divers times and will not amend. 

In the Judicium PiUorie (the judgment of the pillory) which is 
usually dated back to this year (1266) is contained the following 
clauses : — 

" First, they shall inquire the price of wheat, that is to wit, how a 
quarter of the best wheat was sold the last market day, and how the 
second wheat, and how the third, and how a quarter of barley and 

" After, how the baker's bread [in the court doth agree], that is to 
wit, wastel and other bread after wheat of the best, or of the second, 
or of the third price. 

" Also upon how much increase or decrease in the price of [a 
quarter of] wheat a baker ought to change the assise and weight, of 
his bread. 

" Also how much the wastel of a farthing ought to weigh and all 
other manner of bread after the price of a quarter of wheat that 
they present." 
Edward I. Besides Acts of parliament, passed in regular form, there 
were many other modes whereby the commands of the sovereign and 
his advisers were promulgated. These were severally by Charters, 
Acts of Grace, Letters Mandatory, Ordinances, and Proclamations 
(the latter becoming in due course more popular), severally issued 
on special emergencies. We shall have to glance at these : for the 
statute book is seen to be an incomplete authority to follow. The 
king at this date commanded the mayor and aldermen of London to 
make statutes for governing the hucksters of fish and fowl. A 
record of what was done under it is to be found in the horn book of 
the Corporation of the city under the title of " Statuta de poletria 
et pisce facta tempore Mairoratus Henry de Waleys," viz.: 

Tempore Henrici de Waleys, &c, i.e. in the time of Henry de 
Walys, maior of London, Nicholas de Winton, Henry de Coventre, 
sheriffs by the command of the lord the king, with tne assent and 
consent of the great men of the kingdom and citizens aforesaid, it 
was ordained that no huckster of fowle [mango avium] go out of 
the city to meet them that bring poultry, to the city, to make any 
buying from them ; but buy in the city, after the buyers of the lord 
the king, of the barons, and the citizens, have bought and had what 
shall be needful for them, namely, after 3 o'clock and not before. 
And then let them buy thus : That they may afford an hen of the 
better sort for id. ob. And two pullets of the better sort for id. ob. 
And one capon of the better sort for id. ob. And from Easter to 
Whitsuntide a better homefed goose for $d. And from Whitsuntide 
to St. Peter's ad Vincula, for \d. And from that festival throughout 
the whole year always, one of the better sort for yi. Atao fa* *. "*nS&. 
goose of the better sort, \d. Three young \>\geoi» oi Vtaa V«XX«t *rafc 


Walford— Ow the Famines of 


1276 .... 

85 •••• 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food— Contd. 

for id. One mallard for 3d. ob. And two cercels for 3*. And two 
wydch [wild ducks] for 3d. ob. And four begaters id. And a 
dozen larks id. One better feasant ^.d. One better botor for 6d. A 
better heron 6d. One better corlune id. One better plover id. One 
swan for 3*. One better crane for 3*. A better peacock for izd. A 
better coney with the skin ^d. And without the skin 3d. The flesh 
of a good hare 3d. ob. One kid from Christmas to Lent, of the 
better sort, for iod. At other times of the year for 6d. One better 
lamb between Christmas and Lent for 6d. And at other times of the 
year for qd. 

It is also ordained that no huckster of fish, or fishmonger who 
sells again to others, go out to meet those that bring or carry in fish 
to the city, to make a forestal thence ; nor have any partnership with 
a stranger, who brings from the sea to the city ; but let them seek 
for fish in their own ships, and permit foreigners to bring it, and to 
sell when they are come in their own ships. Because by such 
partnership they who are of the city, and have known the state of 
the city, and the defect of victuals, will hold the fish at a greater 
dearness than foreigners who shall not have known it. And also that 
they who are of the city, when they cannot sell as they will, lay it up 
in cellars, and sell dearer than the strangers would do if they came 
without partnership, and knew [not] where they might be harboured. 

Nor let them buy anything in the city until the king's servants, &c., 
have bought, and not before 3 o'clock. And if they who have 
brought fish shall come after 3 o'clock, let them not sell that day, but 
let them sell on the morrow morning. And if they expect more, let 
the fish be taken into the lord king's hand, and let them keep no fish, 
except salt fish, beyond the second day of their coming. Which, if 
it shall happen to be found let them lose their fish, and be at the 
mercy of the Lord the king [to fine them]. 

And thus let the hucksters, i.e. the fishmongers, buy, that they 

A better plaise for 3d. ob. } a middling one for id., and others less, 
as consequently they seem to be worth. 

Also twelve better soles for 3d., and others as they are worth. Also, 
a better conger for 1 2d., others as they may be worth. 

A better turbot for 6d,, and others as they are worth. 

A gallon of oysters for id. 

A better fresh salmon between Christmas and Easter for $s. And 
after Easter for 3*. And others middling and less as they are 

One lampred of nauntes, in their first coming, and of the better 
sort, for a month, for i6d. And after a better lampred for 8d. And 
after Easter for 6d. 

Also, one better fresh lamprey, of Severne or Thames, between the 
purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the middle of Lent, 
for 4d. And after the middle of Lent to Easter for 2d. 

And let the lampreys of nauntes be sold in the public market 
wherein they are accustomed to be sold, and not in houses, unless they 
be hid by night. 

And let merchant strangers come to the city, make there abode 
there, and do as they have been wont to do. 

I have greatly curtailed the list of fishes enumerated in the 
ordinance, partly on the ground of space, and especially because the 
names they bear therein are now unknown to us. 
In Statum de JPistoribus, &c. (statute concerning bakers, &c.), sometimes 
attributed to 51 Henry III, but appearing more probably to belong 
to this reign, 13 Edward I, is contained the following : 

" Here begineth the rule for punishing the infringers of the assise 

I o* bread and ale, forestallers^ coofcs, ^c " 

tJm World : Past and Present. 



1285 .... 

86 .... 

«tU •••• 


Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

" The assise of bread shall be kept according as it is contained in 
the writing of the Marshalsey of our lord the king, delivered unto 
them, after the sale of wheat, that is to wit, the better, the worse, 
and the worst. And well wastel bread, as other of what sort soever 
they be, shall be weighed, according as it is said [of the sale of the 
meaner wheat]. Neither shall the assise of weight of [wheat] be 
changed [more than 6d. increasing or decreasing, as it is in the sale 
of the quarter]. 

" A baker, if his bread [be founden a farthing weight lacking in] 
2.9. 6d., or under, shall be amerced ; and if it [pass the same number] 
he shall suffer punishment of the pillory, which shall not be remittee 
to the offender either for gold or silver ; and every baker shall have 
a mark of his own for [each sort of) bread." 

Then the following : 

" A butcher that selleth swines flesh meazled, or flesh dead of the 
murrain, or that buyeth flesh of Jews, and selleth the same unto 
Christians, after he shall be convict thereof, for the first time, he 
shall be grievously amerced ; the second time he shall suffer judgment 
of the pillory ; and the third time he shaJl be imprisoned and make 
fine ; and the fourth time he shall forswear the town. And in this 
manner shall it be done [of all that offend in the like case]. 

"And if any presume to sell the meal of oats adulterated, or in any 
other deceitful manner, for the first offence he shall be grievously 
punished ; for the second he shall lose all his meal ; for the third he 
shall undergo the judgment of the pillory ; and for the fourth he 
shall abjure the town." 

In this statute it was also provided that " every pillory or stretch- 
neck, must be made of convenient strength, so that execution may be 
done upon offenders without peril of their bodies." 
At this date, and probably for some time earlier, the bakers who 
supplied London with bread mostly lived at Stratford-le-Bow, Essex, 
probably on account of its proximity to Epping Forest, where they 
could obtain firewood at small cost. At a later date Bromley 
(Bremble), also by Bow, but nearer to London, was the seat of many 
bakeries. The bread was taken to the city, to the market in Bread 
Street in carts, and was often seized on its way for being of light 
weight or made of unsound materials. 

Note. — It seems that the bakers of Southwark were not allowed 
to vend bread in the city, because they were not amenable to the 
city laws. In the Horn Book, under date 1293, is the following 
entry : " Item, that no regrators shall come from below London 
Bridge, for the buying and preparing of bread in the city ; because 
the bakers of Southwark are not permitted by the statutes of our 
city to come from without the city." (See 1302.) 

26 Edward I. A mandate for the preservation of peace within the 
city was issued by the king, addressed to Henry le G-aleys, mayor, 
which recites and ordains as follows : 

" Edward by the grace of God, &c, to the mayor and sheriffs of 
London, greeting. Forasmuch as we have heard that the bakers, and 
brewsters and millers, in the city aforesaid, do frequently misconduct 

themselves in their trades We of our counsel, wishing to 

apply a fitting remedy to all the premises, and to strike both them 
and others with fear of so offending, do command you, and strictly 
enjoin, that you will so chastise such bakers, brewsters, and misdoers, 
with corporal punishments, and so visit the other offences, at your 
discretion, that they may excite in others in like case a fear of sq 
offending. And that all corn to be ground at mills within the city 
aforesaid, and without, shall be weighed by the millers, and that such 
millers shall answer in like weight in the flour gotom^ XtaeraVcota.. 
And to the matters aforesaid, and aW. ot\ieT t\\\\\%% ^w\i\<&l \kx&& ^a 


Walfoed— On the Famines of 




•07 .... 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food—Contd. 

office of the mayoralty of the same city, and to the preservation there 
of our peace, do pertain, you are to cause to be inviolably observed. 
Witness myself at York, the 28th day of May, in the twenty- sixth 
year of our reign." 

30 Edward I — The bakers of London were first allowed to sell 
bread in their own shops this year. Previously all the bread was sold 
in Bread Street (off Cheapside). — Stow. The London Bakers 
Company was incorporated 1307. 
Edward II. In the horn book of the corporation of London there is 
(p. 234) under the title of : 

Incipiunt statuta et provisiones civium, London, de assiza panis, 
the following : 

" Secundem consuetudinem civitatus, London, &c. — According to 
the custom of the city of London, an assay ought to be made of 
bread every year, after the feast of St. Michael, by four discreet and 
sworn men, chosen for this purpose : and according to the proportion 
of the common weight of that assay, the bakers ought to bake their 
loaves throughout the whole year : namely, so that if afterwards 
bread can be sold dearer than it was at the making assay, then the 
bread ought to be of less weight than it weighed in the assay. And 
if it were of less price, then it ought to weigh more. Only we ought 
cautiously to provide that accordingly to the quantity whereby the 
corn increaseth in price or decreaseth, the bread increase or decrease 
in weight." 

The exact manner of making the assay, we learn from the same 
authority, was as follows : 

" That the said four sworn men should buy three quarters of bread 
corn [or meal] in the sack upon the pavement in the three markets : 
one at Grassechurch, another at St. Botolph, Billinsgate, and the 
third at Queenhith. Of which they were to make a wastell, and 
another loaf less fine (which I think they called coket), and after 
they had baked these loves with the greatest diligence, then they 
went and presented them hot before the maior and aldermen in 
Guild- Hall. And thus hot they were weighed. And then (saith the 
statute) the buying of the bread corn shall be considered : and $d. 
for every quarter shall be allowed to the baker for his charges. The 
selling also of the brann shall be considered, and shall be withdrawn 
out of the sum that the meal was bought for. And if [after divers 
exact rules for weighing the bread] there be more loaves in number 
than there shall remain halfpence in the sum of the meal bought, 
when the charge is allowed, then let there be a partition of the weight 
of those loves remaining and above. And so every loaf shall be made 
of just weight. And If there be fewer loaves than the number of 
halfpence in the sum the meal was bought for when the charge is 
allowed, then let it be withdrawn from the weight of each loaf 
equally, so far until there result so many loaves of equal weight, as 
there are halfpence in the number of the sum the meal was bought at 
when the charge is allowed. 

*' If there shall be more loaves than the number of halfpence, let the 
part exceeding be taken from the number of loaves, and see the how 
manieth part it will be to the number of halfpence ; and according 
to that proportion let the weight of each loaf be augmented. For 
example sake, if there be 20 halfpence and 24 loaves, every loaf at 
the weight of 40*., then the number of loaves increaseth above the 
number of halfpence, which are but 20 ; and it is the fifth part, 
sinco 5 times 4 make 20. Therefore the weight of every loaf 
increaseth by the fifth part of its weight j and the weight of the 
loaf was 40*., whose fifth part is 8*. Therefore 20 loaves shall bo 
each loaf of the weight of 48*. And so each loaf shall be of just 

the World : Past and Present. 





Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

" If there were more halfpence than the number of loaves, we must 
see the how manieth part was the number increasing of the number 
of loaves ; and if it were a third part, a fourth part is to be lessened 
from every loaf ; and if it were a fourth part, a fifth part is to be 
lessened. For example, if the number of halfpence were 24 and the 
number of loaves zo, then is the number increasing to as before, 
which is the fifth part of 20. Therefore each loaf decreaseth of a 
sixth part of its weight. If the weight therefore shall be 40*., it 
shall be j<«. \d. And so the number of loaves is equalled to the 
number of halfpence, and the weight is the same." 

While this explanation helps us in regard to certain quotations 
which arise in the denomination of values in this paper, it has not the 
advantage of making itself clear to the understanding of any ordinary 
reader. We must be content to take it as we find it. It is quite 
certain that the actual weight of the coins mentioned in each case was 
used to determine the weight of bread in the preceding assise. We next 
advance to another stage of the proceedings taken by the city autho- 
rities in the matter of bread. 

There were four principal halimotes in the year, when all the city 
bakers were bound to meet together : whereof the first was kept after 
the first of St. Michael, for the profit of the city and the kingdom. 
That the bakers assembled together take and know their new sheriffs 
and retain in their memories the statutes of the city belonging to 
the bakers, and receive the assay of bread. 

The second halimote was held after the nativity of our Lord : that 
if there be any transgression made in the first term of the year it 
may be there without difficulty more fully amended. 

The third halimote was accustomed to be called together after the 
close of Easter : as well for the coming of the king as of the nobles 
of his kingdom ; lest their might seem to fall out a want of this kind 
of service — that is, in a convenient supply of the city and inhabitants 
with good bread. 

The fourth halimote was after the nativity of St. John Baptist : 
that what should be solemnly appointed by the common council and 
providence (sic) of the city in the first three terms, in this fourth term 
might be profitably confirmed. So that the goodness of so great a 
work might not run to disprofit by ignorance or by negligence. 

To these four halimotes all the bakers must come. And if they 
come not, nor excuse and essoin themselves reasonably, they forfeit to 
the sheriff 2 id. 
8 Edward II. At this period the king again attempted to come to the 
rescue of the city, by setting a " reasonable price " on flesh and 
fowl, in the ordination which follows : — 

Ed ward us Dei Gratia, &c. — Edward by the Grace of God, King 
of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitan, to the Sheriffs of 
London, greeting. " We have heard the complaint of the archbishops, 
bishops, earls, barons, and others of the commonality of our kingdom, 
by their petition exhibited before us and our council : containing 
that there is a great and, as it were, intolerable dearth, in these days, 
of oxen, cows, sheep, hogs, geese, capons, hens, chickens, pigeons, and 
eggs ; to the no little loss and grievance of them and all others 
dwelling within the same kingdom. For which they have besought 
us instantly that we would take care to provide upon this concerning 
some suitable remedy. 

"We therefore yielding to the aforesaid supplication for the 
common profit of the people of the said kingdom, as it seemed 
expedient to us, have ordained, with the counsel and assent of the 
prelates, earls, barons, and others, being of our council, in our last 
parliament held at Westminster : 

" That a better sort ox, alive, saleable, fafc, rafc fe& ol ^cw3^\k> ^^ 


Walfoed— On the Famines of 







Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

for the time to come for i6s. t and not above. Or that if it be fed 
with grain, and be fat, then to be sold for 245. at most. 

" And that a better sort of cow, alive, and fat, be sold for 1 2*. 

" A hogg, two years old, and fat, for 40^. 

"A sheared mutton, fat, for i^d. 

" A fat goose for zd. ob. In our city aforesaid for 3d. 

" A capon, good and fat, for id., and zd. ob. 

" A fat hen for a id., and id. ob. 

" Two chickens for id. % and id. ob. 

" Three [four overwritten] young pigeons for id. 
Twenty eggs for id. 

And that if it happen to be found, that any persons, or any one 
person, will not sell these saleable things for the price appointed, as 
is before set forth, then the said saleable things shall remain forfeited 
to us. And we will that the aforesaid ordination from this time be 
firmly and inviolably observed in our said city. 

" We command, firmly enjoining you, that in our city aforesaid, 
and suburb of the same, where ye shall see it to be expedient, that 
the aforesaid ordination be publickly and distinctly proclaimed ; and 
that ye cause the same from time [sic'] to be inviolably observed in 
all and each its articles, under the aforesaid forfeiture, throughout 
the whole baiiifwic. And this omit by no means, us you will avoid 
our indignation, and preserve yourselves without blame. Witness 
myself at Westminster this 14th day of March in the eighth year of 
our reign." 

This ordination was afterwards extended through the whole 
kingdom, in all cities, boroughs, villages, &c. "But (in the language 
of Stow) the king was fain the next year to send a brief of reclama- 
tion of his former ordination, finding it did more harm than good." 
It was as follows : 

" The king to the sheriffs of London, greeting : Although we 
lately commanded you that in each place in the aforesaid city, where 
it should seem to you to be best expedient, ye should cause it to be 
publickly proclaimed, that oxen, cows, hogs, sheep, geese, capons, 
hens, chickens, pigeons and eggs should be sold at a certain price : 
Because, nevertheless, we have understood that such a proclamation, 
which at the time we believed would be for the profit of the people 
of our realm, redounds to their greater damage than profit: We 
command you. that in the said several places ye cause publickly to 
be proclaimed, that oxen, cows, hogs, sheep, geese, capons, hens, 
chickens, young pigeons and eggs be sold for a reasonable price, as 
was accustomed to be done before the said former proclamation ; 
certifying all and singular that the former proclamation was not 
made by virtue of the ordination late made by the prelates, earls, 
and barons, and nobles, of the same realm, and by us accepted, nor 
was contained in them. Witness myself at Lincoln, the 
20th February, in the ninth year of our reign." 

This frank confession of errors in judgment, and outstretching of 
authority, in the matter of government, has a novelty about it to 
which we moderns are not accustomed. 
10 Edward II. — Gilbert Parry was indicted and convicted for selling 
maslin halfpenny loaves of short weight in the city, " and because it 
was found that he had been twice drawn on the hurdle, and was now 
for the third time found in default, it was adjudged that he should 
be drawn now for the third time, and should then forswear the trade 
of a baker in the city for ever. And he did abjure it before the 
mayor and aldermen in full court, &c." — Memorials of London, 
p. 123. " Maslin " bread was compounded of wheat and rye flour 
combined. The designation is still current in the north of Eng- 

the World : Past and Present. 



1336 .... 

«o .... 

49 .... 


67 .... 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

By 10 Edward III, statute 3, it was enacted that none should be 
served at any meal with more than two courses, except at certain 
festivals. But this enactment appears to fall within the pale of 
the sumptuary laws, and not to have been the result of any special 
scarcity of food. 

22 Edward III. Pike, in his History of Crime in England — a work of 
the highest authenticity — writing of the punishments of delinquents 
at this period, savs : — 

" Turn where he might, the traveller could hardly fail to light upon 
some group which would tell him the character of the people he had 
come to see. Here, perhaps, a baker with a loaf hung round his neck, 
was being jeered and pelted in the pillory, because he had given short 
weight ; or because when men had asked for bread, he had given 
them, not a stone, but a lump of iron inclosed by crust. There 
perhaps an oven was being pulled down, because a baker had been 
detected in a third offence, and had been compelled to abjure trade 
in the city for ever. If there were no bakers to be punished on any 
particular day, the pillories could never have been all without 
occupants. They were used to punish the sellers of bad meat, 
poultry, and fish, ... of oats good at the top of the sack and 
bad below, . . . and the petty pilferers of every kind." 

For some verification of this see Riley's Memorials of London. 
(1858), p. 498. 

By the 23 Edward III, cap. 6, " Victual shall be sold at reasonable 
prices," it is enacted as follows : — 

"Item — That butchers, fishmongers, regrators, hostlers, brewers, 
bakers, poulters, and all other sellers of all manner of victual, shall be 
bound to sell the same victual for a reasonable price, having respect 
to the price that such victual be sold at in the places adjoining so 
that the same seller have moderate gains, and not excessive, reasonably 
to be required according to the distance of the place from whence the 
said victual be carried. (2) And if any sell such victuals in any 
other manner, and therefore be convict in the manner and form afore- 
said, he shall pay the double of the same that he so received to the 
party damnified, or, in default of him to any other that will pursue 
in this behalf. (3) And the mayors and bailiffs of cities, boroughs, 
merchant towns, and others, and of the ports of the sea, and other 
places, shall have power to inquire of all and singular which shall in 
anything offend the same ; and to levy the said pain to the use of 
them at whose suit such offender shall be convict." 

" If the mayors, bailiffs, &c., were themselves engaged on their 
duties in this regard they were to be grievously punished." 

By 25 Edward III, statute 2, cap. 1, it was enacted that carters, 
ploughmen, drivers of the plough, shepherds, swineherds, deies, and 
all other servants, should take liveries and wages, accustomed in the 
twentieth year of this reign : " so that in the country where wheat 
was wont to be given they shall take for the bushel tenpence, or 
wheat at the will of .the giver till it be otherwise ordained." 

By 31 Edward III, statute 1, cap. 10, it is enacted as follows : — "Item. 
Because that the fishers, butchers, poulterers, and other sellers of 
victuals of the city of London by colour of some charters and by 
evil interpretation of some statutes, made in advantage of the people, 
that every man may freely sell his victuals without disturbance, and 
that no mayor, sheriffs, or other minister ought to meddle of the 
sale; it is accorded and assented, that every man that bringeth 
victuals whatever they be to the said city, by land and water, may 
freely sell the same to whom it shall please him, without being 
interrupted or impeached by fisher, butcher, poulter, or any other ; 
and that the mayor and aldermen of the said city may rate and 
redress the defaults of fishers, butchers, and '^orcAtat*, «& VJ&rtj ^a <& 


Walford — On the Famines of 




Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

those that sell bread, wine, or ale, notwithstanding charters of 
franchise, and statutes, customs, or other privileges made or used to 
the contrary : And that the said major and aldermen do the same 
and put it in execution, upon the pain late ordained touching the 
city of London, so that the punishment of such be not made in 
respect of any singular profit." 

By the 31 Edward III, statute 2 — "An ordinance made concerning the 
selling of herrings," after certain provisions against forestalling, which 
will be found in Table XII, proceeded to enact that the " hundred " 
of herrings should consist of six score, and the "last" of ten 
thousand, proceeds : — 

"And that the merchants of Yarmouth, of London, or elsewhere, 
shall sell the thousand of herrings to the people after the rate of the 
price of the last ; and that two lasts of shotten-herring fresh shall be 
sold for the price of the rate of the buying of a last of full herring. 
And that the people of Yarmouth sell the last of led herring bought 
for 40*. fresh, or for less than 40*. for half a mark of gain and not 
above. And that the people of London, at such fair, shall bring the 
last from Yarmouth to London for one mark of gain and not 
above " 

In this year also was promulgated, " An ordinance concerning the 
salt fish of Blakeney," which recites : — 

" Whereas it is shown to our lord the king by the commons of his 
realm of England, in his parliament holden at Westminster the 
Monday next after the week of Easter, in the year of the reign of our 
lord the king, that is to say of England, the 31st, and of France the 
18th, that salt fish of Blakeney, and of the coasts adjoining are, and 
heretofore have been sold at too high and excessive price, to the 
great damage of our lord the king, of the great men, and of all the 
people of the said realm, whereof the said commons do pray a remedy; 
our lord the king desiring to make amendment therein, for relief of 
his people .... hath ordained and established concerning the 
sale of the said fish in manner following." 

Then follow the enactments : — 

" 1. First, it is ordained that all the ships called doggers and lode- 
ships, pertaining to the Haven of Blackney, and coasts thereunto 
adjoining, that is to say, Saterley, Wineton, Clay, Salthouse, Shiring- 
ham and Crowmer, shall deliver or discharge their fish within the 
Haven of Blackney only, betwixt Benord and Hogfleet, and in none 
other place, upon pain of imprisonment at the king's will, and 
forfeiture of the same fish. And that no fish be delivered nor 
carried out of the ship to any house, nor elsewhere before that the 
owner of the ship wherein the said fish is charged, and the merchant 
that shall buy the fish, be agreed of the price of the same by clear 

2. (In abstract). The buyer only shall handle the fish. The 
price of dogger fish was to be settled at the beginning of Blakeney 
fair. Fish was not to be kept in houses to be sold by retale. " And 
that no man buy nets, hooks, nor other instruments pertaining to 
fishing, in the county of Norfolk, but owners, masters, and mariners 
of ships that use the mystery of fishing, and which have to do with 
such things, upon pain of imprisonment, and to be ransomed at the 
king's will, and to forfeit the things so bought." Six chosen men 
were to be present at the delivery of the fish, "to search for 
orgejs," &c. 
By the 35 Edward III — " An ordinance of herring " — the ordinance of 
1357 was modified after the following recital of the causes therefore, 
" because that the hosts of our town of Great Yarmouth would lodge 
the fishers coming there with their herring in the time of the fair, 
will not suffer the said fishers to sell their herrings, nor to meddle 

the World : Past amd Present 







Table IX — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

with, the sale of the same, but sell them at their own will, as dear as 
they will, and give the fishers that that pleaseth them, so that the 
fishers do withdraw themselves to come there, and the herring was 
set at a greater dearth than it was before." And again, " because it 
is showed to us and our council by petition in this present parlia- 
ment, that the sale of herring is much decayed, and the people 
greatly endangered by the points aforesaid [the provisions of the 
ordinance of 1357], that is to say, that many merchants coming to the 
fair, as well as labourers and servants, as other do bargain for herring, 
and every of them by malice and envy increase upon other, and if one 
prefer 40*., another will prefer 1 o*. more, and the third 60$., and so 
every one surmounteth other in the bargain, and such prof ers extend to 
more than the price of the herring upon which the fishers prof ered it 
to sell in the beginning ; and when every man who claimeth his part 
of the herring for the price accorded, shall have his part, and the 
herring be so divided amongst them that the fisher is so much 
grieved and delayed in the gathering of his money, that he should 
demand of so many persons, that he looseth his tides, and the advan- 
tage of his fishing ; and also herein, that no fresh herring is put to 
sale but from the sun-rising till the sun going down, and not before 
nor after, which is to the great loss of fishers, and appairing of the 
herring, and damage of the people that shall buy the same, for the 
fishing is more by night than by day, and often it chanceth that the 
fishers be so distant and so laden that they come to the town after the 
sun going down, or little before, so that they cannot sell their herring 
in the time for the sale limited, so that they must abide all the night 
and day after upon the sale of their herring, and lose many tydes and 
the profits of their fishing ; We perceiving the mischiefs and 
grievances aforesaid, granted that all persons might buy herring 
openly, not privily ; no man was to interrupt another in a bargain of 
herring, nor bid upon him 9 and fishermen might sell their herring 
as soon as they arrived ; in fact matters got back to much as they 
were before the first ordinance of herring, except that there was to 
be no competition in the sales, otherwise the price could not remain 
An Act regulating the price of poultry was passed, viz., 37 Edward HI, 
cap. 3, which was as follows : — Item. For the great dearth that is in 
many places of the realm, of poultry, it is ordained, that the price of 
a young capon shall not pass iij d., and of an old iiij d. t of an hen 
ij d.> of a pullet j d. t of a goose iiij d., and in places where the prices 
of such victuals be less, they shall hold without being enhanced by 
this ordinance ; and that in the towns and markets of uplands they 
shall be sold at a less price, according as may be agreed betwixt the 
seller and the buyer; and justices shall be thereupon assigned by 
commission to put the thing duly in execution. 

During part of this reign a quarter of corn sold in certain localities 
for 28. 
By 37 Edward III, cap. 8, the diet and apparel of servants was 
regulated. We quote in brief. Item. — "For the outragious and 
excessive apparel of divers people, against their estate and degree, to 
the great destruction and impoverishment of all the land ; It is 
ordained, that grooms, as well servants of lords, as they of mysteries, 
and artificers, shall be served with meat and drink once a day of flesh 
or of fish, and the remnant of other victuals, as of milk, butter and 
cheese, and such other victuals, according to their estate. . . ." 
By 36 Edward III, cap. 2, the Act of the preceding session (37 
Edward III, cap. 5), restricting merchants to deal in one sort of 
merchandise only [see Table XII] was repealed as follows : — 

" Item — To that which was ordained at the last -^\\aaxifeT&.,fcl^^% 
and apparel, and that no English, merchant &.croi\& ms&\s\& <sfcfcT&s*- 


Walford — On the Famines of 







Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

chandise. It is ordained that all people shall be as free as they were 
at all times before the said ordinance, and, namely, as they were in 
the time of the king's grandfather and his other good progenitors ; 
and that all merchants, as well aliens as denizens, may sell and buy 
all manner of merchandise, and freely carry them out of the realm, 
paying the customs and subsidies therefore due, except that the 
English merchants shall not of the realm with wool or woolfels ; 
and that none carry out of the realm gold nor silver, in plate nor in 
money, saving the victuallers of fish that fish for herring and other 
fish, and they that bring fish within the realm in small vessels, which 
meddle not with other merchandises ; and that according to the 
arbitrament of the chancellor." 

39 Edward III. An ordinance was promulgated, " as to the sale by 
hostelers and herbergeours of bread, and horse-bread," &c., which 
recites : — 

" Whereas many grievances and damages have been done heretofore 
unto divers folks repairing to the city of London, for that the 
hostelers and herbergeours of the same city have made horse -bread 
to sell in their houses, at their pleasure ; the which has been of no 
assise, and not of the value that it ought to be ; and also some 
hostelers and herbergeours do go into Southwark and elsewhere, 
where they please, to buy horse-bread, and there buy it dry, and at the 
rate of 18 loaves for 12, and then sell it to their guests at one half- 
penny the loaf, whereas 4 such loaves are really not worth a penny ; 
to the great scandal of the said city, and to the great damage of the 
common people. 

" Therefore the mayor and aldermen, with the assent ef the commons, 
by way of remedy, ordered that the persons aforesaid shall buy 
bread for such guests, and for their horses, of the common bakers of 
the said city, each loaf being stamped with the mark of the baker of 
whom the same was bought ; that so, every one may see that the 
bread is of the right assise, and of the real value that it ought to 
be." — Memorial of London, p. 323. 

By 6 Richard II, statute 1, cap. 10, it is enacted as follows : — " Item — 
It is ordained and accorded, that all manner of foreigners and aliens, 
being of amity of the king, and of his realm, and coming within the 
said city of London, and other cities, boroughs, and towns within the 
said realm, as well within liberties as without, with fish and all 
manner of other victuals, there carrying and going again to their 
own countries, shall from henceforth be under the safeguard and the 
special protection of our said lord the king ; and there it shall be 
lawful to them and every of them, and by force of these presents, 
they may from henceforth cut their fishes and victuals aforesaid, 
without impeachment or denying of any man, in prices, and in part, 
or in all, at retaile, or in grosse as to them best shall seem, to sell 
and make their profit ; any charters, statutes, or ordinances, 
privileges, or customs made or had to the contrary notwithstanding." 

By 18 Richard II, statute 1, cap. 8, it is ordained and assented {inter 
alia), and in the right of victuallers it is accorded, that they shall 
have reasonable gains, according to the discretion and limitation of 
the said justices, and no more, upon pain to be grievously punished 
according to the discretion of the said justices where no pain is 
limited in certain before this time upon the said victuallers. And the 
sheriffs, stewards of lords of franchises, mayors and bailiffs, and all 
others that have assise of bread and ale to keep, and the correction 
of the same, shall take no amercement or fine for any default 
touching the assise, for the which a man or woman by the law ought 
to have bodily punishment, according as it is another time ordained 
by statute . . . and all other that have the order and survey of 
victuals in cities, boroughB, market towns, and elsewhere, where 

the World : Past and Present. 




VA •••• 

\fu •••• 

1400 .... 



Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

victuals be Bold in the realm, shall find the statute made, the 
twenty- third year of the reign of king Edward, grandfather to the king 
that now is, which beginneth, " Because a great part of the people, 
touching the estate of victuallers and hostellers, and other sellers of 
yictuals in due execution ; and that no hosteller make horse bread 
in his hostry nor without, that bakers shall make it, and the assise 
thereof shall be made so that the weight be reasonable after the 'price 
of the corn in the market ; and that the same hostellers shall sell hay 
and oats after a reasonable price, so that they take not for the bushel 
but one halfpenny over the common price in the market. 

The 15 Richard II, cap. 4 — " There shall be but 8 bushels of corn 
striked to the quarter/' recites as follows : 

'"Item — Whereas it is ordained by divers statutes that one 
measure of corn, wine and ale should be throughout the realm, and 
that 8 bushels striked make the quarter of corn ; nevertheless, 
because that no pain is thereupon ordained in the said statutes, divers 
people of divers cities, boroughs, towns and markets, will not take, 
neither buy in the said cities and sell in none other place, but 9 
bushels for the quarter : and if they cannot buy in that manner, they 
arrest it as forfeit to the great damage and oppression of all our 
people, and manifestly against the statute aforesaid." 

Whereupon it was ordained and assented that the said statute 
should be firmly kept and holden as well in the city of London, and 
in every other place throughout the realm, and that as well by water 
as by land, notwithstanding any usage in times past to the contrary. 

By the 1 Henry IV, cap. 17 — " Strangers may buy and sell within the 
realm victuals in gross or by retail," the Act of 1382 is recited, 
and it is then set forth as follows : " Our lord the king, considering 
the same statute to be very profitable in many ways if it were put in 
execution, by the assent of the lords and commons aforesaid, hath 
ordained and established, that the said statute be firmly holden, kept 
and duly executed after the form and effect thereof, notwithstanding 
the letters patent late granted to the contrary to the fishmongers of 
London by the said late King Richard upon his last voyage towards 

2 Henry IV. It will be useful to give at certain stated periods as we 
proceed, short schedules of the prices of the leading articles of food, 
and in contrast therewith the price of labour at the same date. We 
commence at this date ; but it must be remembered that the prices 
varied greatly in different localities, in consequence of the difficulty 
of transport. 

Food y Sfc. s. d. 

Wheat, per quarter 8 - 

Barley „ 5 4 

Fat sheep 1 - 

„ - ioi 

An ox carcass 7 6 

A goose - 4 

A lamb - 8 

Best beer, per gallon - ii 

Claret „ - 8 

Labour. s. 

A labourer's wages, per day - 

Reaping grain, per acre .... - 

Threshing grain, perl _ 

quarter J "" 

A master mason's wages, 1 _ 

per day J 

Making 100 fagots - 

Sawing, per 100 ft. of deal 1 

A dung cart ., 1 





By 4 Henry IV, cap. 8, the enactment of 13 Richard II, statute 1, 
cap. 8 (1389-90), was confirmed, regarding the price to be charged by 
hostelers for horse bread and oats. 

4 Henry V. On the 4th February it was ordered that in time of Lent 
simnel loaves [i.e., loaves of the finest wheaten flour] should not be 
made, nor yet any other white loaves, that are called painman, main- 
cherin, &c. ; but only three kinds, namely tourte, bis [brown bread 
known also as trete] and white. 


Walford— On the Famines of 


1424 .... 

35 .... 
'50 .... 

'68 .. 

Table IX— Restrictions on the Price of Food—Contd. 

By 3 Henry VI, cap. 2 — " Sheep shall not he transported beyond the 
sea without the king's license." This enactment was not in view of 
food supplies, but related to the export of wool. 

By the 14 Henry VI, cap. 6 — "That none disturb an alien that 
bringeth in victuals to sell in gross or retale," the Act of 1382 
was re-enacted. 

29 Henry VI. The prices of food and labour as given by Double- 
day — The True Law of Population (1841) — at this date were as 
follows : — 

Food, fa. e. d. 

Wheat (plentiful), per qr. 5 4 

Finest „ 8 - 

Oats 2 1 

A lean ox 13 - 

A veal or calf 2 - 

A lamb 1 - 

A goose - 3 

Eggs, per 100 - 5 

Bed wine, per gallon 1 - 


A weeder, per day 

A reaper, with diet 

A mower „ 

A labourer, per three days 

A sawyer 

A tiler 

A tiler and man 

A master carpenter 

A man and cart 

t. d. 

- 2 

- 3 

- 4 

* 4 

- 6 

- 6 
1 2 

- 10 
1 8 

Edward IV. Robert Brook and Thomas West, Esq res., were at this 
date clerks of the market, and in a MS. book of theirs there is 
recorded the following : — 

" Memorandum. — The baker shall be allowed in every quarter of 
whete bakyng, as it is provyd by the kyngis bakers, as it shal appere 

" First, he shal have +d. and all his branne to avauntage ; and two 
lofis for f ornage ; and three halfpence for three servauntes ; and for 
coles ob. and for yeste ob. and for salt ob., and for wood 3**., and for 
bultelle [bolting the meal] ob., and for the sealing ob., and for candele, 
q. Bumm nd. q. beside his branne, and the two loves. 

" This is proved by the statutis : and also by an Acte in William 
Conquerours tyme: and the tyme of Henry the HI; and in the 
tyme of King Edward the III : and never reversid eithen. 

" Memorandum, it is ordaynedbi statute, that alle manner of bakers 
dwelling out of cities and burgh townes, as bakers dwelling in villagis 
and upon Londe, their peny lof , what come so ever it be, be it white 
or browne, it shall wey more than the peny lof in the town or city by 
x s., and the halfpenny lof by v s. because they bere not suche 
chargis as bakers in the cities doon, and townes. And yet they shal 
kepe the assize truly according unto the statute upon peyne of 6s. Sd. 
for his offence, as often as he doth the contrary, beside his mersement' 
for brekyng of the size, if his lof wey nat as thev do in cities and 
burgh townes. And in likewise shal the ferthing lof wey after the 

Then follow the " assize of brede " as follows : — 

" This is the assize of al maner of brede of whete, and of what eting 
come soever it be. It shal be weied after the ferthing wastell ; for 
the symonell shal weye less than the wastel than zs. because of the 

" The ferthing white lof e, called the cocket, shal wey more than the 
wastell by 2*. because of the bakyng. 

" The halfpeny wheten lofe, that is to say, the halfpeny cribel lofe, 
shal wey three ferthing white lofys. 

" The lofe of al maner of corn, that is to say the horse lof, shal wey 
two halfpeny white lofis." 

In this same book there was also contained the assise for other 
branches of trade connected with food of the people : thus for the 
"mrUer," the "brewer," the u bocher," the "fyssher," *c. 

the World- : Past and Present 




1500 .... 



Table IX. — Restrictions on 9 the Price of Food — Contd. 

It was also the custom at this early period to have an assise of liquors, 
embraced under the general term " Victuals," concerning which we 
learn many details from the 20 Edward IV, cap. 8 — " An Act for 
annulling of Letters Patents made to Searchers and Surveyors of 
Victuals," enacted this year, and which recites as follows : 

" Item — Whereas the governors, that is to say mayors, bailiffs, and 
other like governors of every city, borough and town of substance 
within this realm of England, for the most parts have courts of 
leets and views of frankpledge, holden yearly within the same cities, 
boroughs, and towns, and surveying of all victuals there, and 
correction and punishment of the offenders and breakers of this assise 
of the same, to be presented and amerced if any default be found in 
the said courts, or by their surveying, which by reason ought not to 
be contraried, nor the victuallers there by the law ought to be sur- 
charged or oppressed ; (2) as now, and of late, divers persons daily 
intending their singular avail and profit, to oppress the said victual- 
lers, and to enter and break the liberty of divers places in this realm, 
Raving franchises and surveying of all victuallers, and correction of 
the same, have purchased letters patent of our sovereign lord the 
king, to be surveyors and correctors of all such victuallers within 
divers cities, boroughs, and other places of this realm of England, as 
of ale, beer, wine, and other such victuals, by which pretence and 
unlawful office, they do commit divers and many extortions and 
oppressions, amongst the king's liege people, taking of them unlaw- 
fully divers great fines and ransoms to the danger of the king's liege 
people, and also wrongful derogation of the liberties and franchises of 
divers of the said cities, boroughs, and towns." 

It was therefore enacted that all letters patent granted to persons 
for searching or surveying of victuals should be void, and the chief 
governors of cities, towns, &c, appointed to search and survey the 
same. The other Acts and authorities on this branch of the inquiry, 
which we do not intend to pursue in detail here, are : — 4 Inst., 262 ; 
51 Henry III, statute 6 j 12 Edward II. statute 1, cap. 6 ; 10 
Edward III, statute 3 ; 23 Edward III, cap. 6 ; 31 Edward III, 
statute 1, cap. 10 ; 6 Richard II, cap. 10 ; 13 Richard II, statute 1, 
cap. 8 ; 1 Henry IV, cap. 17 ; 3 Henry VIII, cap. 8 ; 25 Henry VIII, 
cap. 2 ; 2 and 3 Edward VI, cap. 15 ; 2 1 and 23 Car. II, cap. 19 ; 
31 G-eorge II, cap. 28 ; and 32 G-eorge II, cap. 1. 

15 Henry VII. The prices of food and labour this year are recorded as 
follows :— 


8. d. 

Wheat, per quarter 7 

Malt „ 2 

A cow 8 

A lamb 1 

A Pig " 

Carcass of a neat - 

Eggs per 100 - 

Wine, per gallon 1 





- 8 

A woman labourer, per day 

A carter, per day 

A reaper „ 

A mower „ 

A carpenter, with diet per day 
A plumber „ 
A tiler or joiner „ 
Lesser crafts, without diet \ 
per day J 

8. d. 

- 3 

- 3 

" 4 

- 6 

- 6 

- 6 

- 6 

By 22 Henry VIII, cap. 7, whoever should convey any horses, geldings, 
mares, or sheep, to any parts beyond the sea, without the king's 
license, save for the victualling of Calais, was to forfeit 409. for every 
poll. (See 1562.) 

By the 23 Henry VIII, cap. 3, "An Acte for Fleshe to be sold by 
weight," it was enacted that any person who should sell by himself 
or any others, the carcasses of beefs, pork, mutton, or veal, or any 
part or parcel thereof after the 1st August then nert* smmx^^w^A 
sell the same by lawful weight, called koberdupois,*^ tuto^ otitasst 


Walfobd— On the Famines of 





Table IX. — Restrictions 6n the Price of Food — Contd. 

wise ; the said flesh to be cut out in reasonable pieces, according to 
the request of the buyer, in like fashion as afore that time was used, 
without fraud or covin ; and that every person who by himself or 
any other should sell any flesh of the said carcasses, should have with 
him where he should make sale of the said flesh, sufficient beam 
scales and weights, sealed, called haberdupois, for true serving of the 
buyers. And that after the said 1st day of August no person should 
take, or cause to be taken for any pound weight qfjlesh of the carcasses 
of beef or pork, above the price of one half peny and half farthing 
upon pain of forfeiting 3*. \d. " Provyded always, that the heedes, 
neckes, inwardes, purtynances, legges, nor fete shall not be counted 
no parte of the carcasse afore said, but such be solde for a lower 
price." The lord chancellor and justice of assise, justice of peace, 
mayors, bailiffs, &c., might fix lower prices, and special powers for 
" towns and Universities of Oxforde and Cambridge." 
In this year there were three enactments bearing upon food supplies, 
viz.: — 

1. The 25 Henry VIII, cap. 1, which enacted that the "governors of 
cities and market towns upon complaint to them made of any 
butcher refusing to sell victual by weight according to the statute 
24 Henry VIII, cap. 3, might commit the offender to ward until he 
had paid all penalties limited by the said statute ; and might sell or 
cause to be sold for money all such victual for ready money to be 
delivered to the owner, and if any grazier, farmer, breeder, drover, 
refuse to sell his fat cattle to a butcher upon such reasonable price 
as he may retail it at the price assessed by the statute, the justices of 
the peace, mayors, and governors, should cause indifferent persons to 
set the prices of the same, which if the owner refuse to accept them, 
the same justices, &c, should bind him to appear the next term in 
the Star Chamber, to be punished as the king's counsel should think 

2. The 25 Henry VIII, cap. 2, see Table XII. 

3. The 23 Henry VIII, cap. 13 — " Concerning the number of sheep 
one should keep," the preamble of which is very remarkable : 

" Forasmuch as divers and sundry persons of the king's subjects 
of this realm, to whom God of his goodness hath disposed great 
plenty and abundance of movable substance, now of late within few 
years have daily studied, practised, and invented ways and means 
how they might accumulate and gather together, into few hands, as 
well as great multitudes of farms as great plenty of cattle, and in 
special sheep, putting such lands as they can get to pasture, and not 
to tillage, whereby they have rot only pulled down churches and 
towns, and enhanced the old rates of the rents of the possessions of 
this realm, or else brought it to such excessive fines, that no poor 
man is able to meddle with it, but also have raised and enhanced the 
prUfS of all manner of t'orn, cattle, tcood, pigs, geese, hens, chickens, 
tggs % and such other, almost dottble above the prices which hare been 
act'ttstomtti ; by reason whereof a marvellous multitude and number 
of the people of this realm be not able to provide meat, drink, and 
clothes necessary for themselves, their wives and children, but be so 
di*<*ouraged witn misery and poverty, that they fall daily to theft, 
robbery, and other inconveniencies, or pitifully die for hunger and 
cold, and as it is thought by the king's most humble and loving 
subjects, that one of the greatest occasions that inoveth and provoketh 
those greedy and covetous people so to accumulate and keep in their 
lands such great portions and parts of the grounds and lands of 
this realm from the occupying of the poor husbandmen, and so to 
use it in pasture and not iu tillage, is only the great profit that 
cometh of sheep, which us* be come to a few person's hands 
of this realm in respect ol ik* *\h&& hmh&kx <& \ta kind's subjects 

the World : Past and Present. 



1533 .... 

'35 .. 

36 .... 

'41 .... 



Table IX.— Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

that some have 24,000, some 20,000, some 10,000, some 6,oco, 
some 5,000, and some more, and some less, by the which a good sheep 

for victual, that are accustomed to be sold for is. \d. op 3*. at the most, 
is now sold for 6s., or 5*., or 4*. rfb the least ; and a stone of clothing 
wool, that in some shires of this realm was accustomed to be sold 
for 1 8 pence, or 20 pence, is now sold for 4*., or 3*. +d. at the least ; and 
in some countries [counties], where it hath been sold for 2*. 4^., or 
28. %d., or is. at the most, it is now sold for 5*., or 4*. at least, 
and so are raised in every part of this realm; which things thus 
used be principally to the high displeasure of Almighty God, to the 
decay of the hospitality of this realm, to the diminishing of the 
king's people, and to the let of the cloth making, whereby many 
poor people have been accustomed to be set on work ; and in 
conclusion, if remedy be not found, it may turn to the utter destruction 
and desolation of this realm, which G-od defend." 

Wherefore it was enacted of the king's " most gracious and godly 
disposition, that from and after the feast of St. Michael the 
Archangel, 1535, no man should keep, occupy, or have in his possession 
above 2,000 sheep at one time, upon penalty of 3*. \d. per head for 
all beyond ; lambs under one year old not to be counted as sheep ; 
grace of one year given as to sheep coming by executorship, or 
marriage ; with special provisions as to sheep bequeathed by will to 
a child under age." 

Then follow a series of clauses which revoke a good deal of the 
foregoing, viz., that the owner of land may on his inheritance keep 
as many sheep as he will ; it was only the farmer who was to be 
so limited to 2,000, and even he mi^ht have additional sheep for 
the maintenance of his household. And inasmuch as the number of 
100 sheep in every county be not alike, 6 score were to be counted 
100. No man was to take above two farms. 

By the 27 Henry VIII, cap. 9, butchers were permitted to sell flesh 
for two years, as they did before the making of the statutes 
24 Henry VIII, cap. 3 (1532), and 25 Henry VIII, cap. 1, and 
notwithstanding these enactments. 

By 28 Henry VIII, cap. 14 — " For prices of wines," it was enacted 
" That no person or persons shall sell any Gascoin, Geri/en, or French 
wines above viijrf. the gallon, that is to say, a penny the pint, two- 
pence the quart, fourpence the bottle, and eightpence the gallon, 
upon pain of forfeiture for every pint sold above that price if 
ivd. . . . And that no Malmesys, Romneys, sacks, nor other 
local wines shall be sold by retail above xijd. the gallon, yid. the 
pottle, iijd. the quart, id. ob. the pint, upon pain, &c." The prices of 
wines sold in the gross were to be assessed by the king's great officers, 
viz., the Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, and Lord President of the 
Council, &c. 

By 33 Henry VIII, cap. 11, " An Act for butchers to sell at their 
liberty by weight or otherwise," it is recited at the instance of the 
masters and fellowship of butchers, and of other butchers within the 
realm, that if the Acts of 1533 and 1535 " should hereafter be put 
in execution, and your said orators compelled to sell flesh by weight 

should be to the utter undoing of your said orators for ever." 

Wh<reupon it was enacted that it might "from thenceforth be 
lawful unto all your said subjects to sell their victuals from time to 
time by themselves, their wives and servants, to all manner of 
persons that will buy the same in like manner and form as they might 
have done before the making of the said estatutes or any of them." 

The 34 and 35 Henry VIII, cap. 9 — "An Act for the preservation of the 
River Severn," recites : — 

" Whereas divers persons, as well aa m\i&fo\ta.T\ta, forauet* «&&. 
dwellers near unto the stream, of Severn, and. \mfco Vtafc cts>£&& «&&. 


Walford — On the Famines of 




Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

piles of the same, from Kingrod upwards toward the city and town 
of Gocester, conveyeth and carrieth grain and corn out of the realm 
of England, unto the parts beyond the sea where grains are very 
dear, and now of late time have made picards, and other great boats, 
with foremasts, of the burthen of 15 tun, and some to 36 tun ; and 
by reason thereof, wheat, rye, beans, barley, malt, and other kinds of 
grain by stealth are conveyed into the utter parts beyond the sea, 
so that thereby the king's majesty is not only deceived of his subsidy 
and custom for the same, but it causeth at such times wheat, grain 
and other kind of corn as is aforesaid, to be at high prices ; and 
by the same means the inhabitants within the said city or town of 
Bristol are often and sundry times destitute and scant, may have 
grain or corn to serve the king's obedient subjects there dwelling and 
inhabiting ; and also by reason of having the said great boats or 
vessels, oftentimes divers ships, as well of the parts beyond the sea, 
or other of English ships lying in Kingrod and Sungrod (being ports 
or havens of the city or town of Bristol aforesaid distant 5 miles 
or thereabouts from the said town of Bristol) awaiting and tarrying 
there the coming of the said boats with corn and grain down Severn, 
who there discharge the grain and corn abroad the said ships at 
Kingrod^ by reason whereof the said ships and other vessels there 
tarrying for the receipt of the said grain and corn, do then cast out 
their ballast of stones, and other roble of ballast of their said ships 
and vessels into the said roads and havens, to the great destruction, 
and in continuance to the utter undoing of the said roads and havens, 
in that the mouth and whole channel of the said haven is so heaped 
and quarried with stones and roble of ballast of the ships and boats 
there arriving, that great ships which use the course of merchandise 
to the said town of Bristol from the parts beyond the sea, and from 
the town laden with merchandise unto the utter parts, may scantly 
or safely come in unto the king's said port and town of Bristol and 
the river of the same, and so from the said port and town of Bristol 
unto the said Severn, without great danger and peril ; and by that 
means ships of great burthen are like to be destroyed and utterly to 
be cast away j and if redress be not the sooner had therein, it will be 
to the utter destruction of the haven and port of the said town of 
Bristol, which said town of Bristol is chiefly maintained by course of 

It was therefore enacted (in addition to penalty for casting ballast) 
that none should load any corn in any vessel by the water of the 
Severn to transport until the same should be submitted to the king's 
" customers " at Bristol there to pay the export duties, and then only 
to carry so much grain as his license permitted, upon pain of 
forfeiture of vessel. 
By a statute enacted this year, we learn that trades -unionism is not a 
new feature — that is new in our own time : this measure is the 
2 and 3 Edward VI, cap. 15 — " The Bill of conspiracies of victuallers 
and craftsmen," which recites : — 

"Forasmuch as of late divers sellers of victuals, not contented 
with moderate and reasonable gain, but minded to have and to take 
for their victuals so much as list them, have conspired and covenanted 
together to sell their victuals at unreasonable prices ; (2) and like- 
wise artificers, handicraftmen and labourers have made their 
confederalls and promises, and have sworn mutual oaths, not only 
that they should not meddle one with another's and perform and 
finish that another hath begun, but also to constitute and appoint 
how much work they shall do in a-day, and what hours and times 
they shall work, contrary to the laws and statutes of the realm, 
and to the great hurt and impoverishment of the king's majesty's 

the World : Past and Present. 






Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

For reformation whereof, it was enacted — " That if any butchers, 
brewers, bakers, poulterers, cooks, eostermongers or fruiterers, shall 
at anj time from and after the 1st day of March next coming, 
conspire, covenant, promise, or make any oaths, that they shall not 
sell their victuals but at certain prices .... shall forfeit for the 
first offence io7. to the king's highness, or twenty days imprison- 
ment on bread and water ; and for the second offence 20/., or the 
pillory ; and for the third offence 40/., and the pillory, with loss of 
one of his ears, and also shall at all times after that be taken as a 
man infamous, and his saying, depositions on oath, not to be 
credited at any time in matters of judgment." If any such con- 
spiracy were entered into by the Company of Victuallers, then their 
corporation to be dissolved. 
3 Edward YI. Prices were as follows : — 


Wheat, per quarter 

„ (scarcity), perl 
quarter J 

Barley (scarcity), per 

A steer, fat 

Mutton, per carcass 

A wedder 

£ s. d. 

- 14 8 

1 - - 







A binder and shearer, 

with diet, per day 

A mower's statute wages. 

with diet, per day ... 
A mower, without diet 

A shearer, without diet, 

A journeyman tailor, with "1 

diet J 



9. d. 

- 2 

- 4 

- 10 

- 5 

- 4 

The 5 and 6 Edward VI, cap. 14, " An Act against Regrators, Fore- 
stallers. and Ingrossers," and which will be noticed in detail in 
Table No. XII. contained the following : — 

VIII. And it is also further enacted, "That if any person or 
persons after the said 1st day of May next coming, having sufficient 
corn and grain for the provision of his or their own house or houses, 
and sowing of their grounds for one year, do buy any corn in any 
fair or market, for the change of his or their seed, and do not bring 
to the same fair or market the same day so much corn, as he shall 
fortune to buy for his seed, and sell the same, if he can, as the price 
of corn their goeth in the said market or fair, that then every such 
person or persons so buying corn for seed, shall forfeit and lose the 
double value of the corn so bought." . • . 

Also this: — 

XII. "Provided always .... That it shall be lawful to every 
person or persons which shall be assigned and allowed by three justices 
of the peace of the county where he shall thereunto, by (otherwise 
than by forestalling) corn, grain, or cattle, to be transported or carried 
by water from any port or place within this realm of Wales, unto amu 
other port or place within the said realm or dominions, if he or they 
shall without fraud or covin ship or embark within three score [other 
editions have it forty] days next after he or they shall have bought 
the same, or taken covenant or promise for the buying thereof, and 
with such expedition and diligence as wind and weather will serve, 
to carry and transport the same to such port or place as his or their 
cockets shall declare, and there to disbar k, unlade and sell the same, 
and do bring a true certificate thereof from one justice of the peace of 
the county, or mayor or bailiff of the town corporate, where the same 
shall be unladen, and also of the customer of the port where such 
unlading shall be, of the place or day where the said corn or cattle 
shall be disbarked, unladen and sold, to be directed unto the cus- 
tomer and comptroller of the port, where the same were embarked ; 
anything mentioned in this Act to the contrary notwithaband- 

This Act was made perpetual by IS EUxabeOv, ev£. ?&- 


Walforp — On the Famines of 










Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

In the 5 Elizabeth, cap. 5, " An Act touching Politick Constitutions 
for the maintenance of the Navy," but which was in reality an Act to 
encourage fisheries and the mercantile marine, in view probably of 
drafting young fishermen into the royal navy, there was contained 
the following clauses : 

XIV. " And for increase of provision of fish by the more usual 
and common entering thereof, be it further enacted by the authority 
aforesaid, that from the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, in the 
year of our Lord God, 1564, every Wednesday, in every week, through- 
out the year, which heretofore hath not been by the law and custom* 
of this realm used and observed as a fishday, and which shall not 
happen to fall on Christmas week or Easter week, shall be here- 
after observed and kept, as the Saturday in every week, be or ought 
to be. (2) And that no manner of person may eat any flesh on 
the same day, otherwise than ought to be upon the common 

Under pain of the penalties therein provided, see further hereon, 

There was enacted, 8 Elizabeth, cap. 8 — " An Act against carrying over 
seas, Bams, Lambs, or Sheep, alive." This was probably in the 
interest of the woollen trade. 

By 13 Elizabeth, cap. 13 — " An Act for the increase of Tillage, and 
maintenance of the Navy," it was set forth when corn might be 
exported and when not. It might be exported out of certain ports, 
in certain specified classes of ships, when the prices be allowed 
"reasonable." Before any grain was transported under this Act, 
the justices of locality from which export was proposed to be made 
had to be notified to the queen or her council, and then allowed or 
otherwise. The custom to be paid for grain transported under this 
Act was specified. The queen by proclamation might prohibit export. 

Sir Lionel Ducket, mayor. This year there was " imprinted on a sheet, 
by J. Day, the city printer," a tariff of the prices of poultry, with a 
preface as follows : 

" Forasmuch as through the greedie couetousnesse of the poulters, the 
pricee of all poultrie wares within the citie and the liberties thereof 
are growen to be excessive and unreasonable, not only to the perillous 
example of all manner of people throughout the whole realme that do 
sell poultrie wares, but also to the great charges of all noblemen, men 
of worship, and gentlemen, that do keepe any houses within this 
citie, or neere the same ; 

" For reformation whereof, it is ordered by my lord maior and 
court of aldermen, that all maner of persons, as well poulterers as 
others, that shall after this present 5th day of April, in the xiiij year 
of the queenes maiesties reign, sell any poultry wares within this 
citie and the liberties thereof, shall observe and keep these prices 

Then follows detailed list of prices to be charged in " shops " and 
in the " markets." 

By the 27 Elizabeth, cap. 18, so much of the Statute 5 Elizabeth, 
cap. 5 (1562), as concerneth the eating of fish, and restraineth the 
eating of flesh upon Wednesdays, was repealed. " Sea-fish might be 
sold any day in the week saving Sunday. Victuallers were to issue 
no flesh in Lent, nor upon Fridays or Saturdays." 
1 In view of preventing a dearth in the city of London, certain of the 
city companies " were, by the lord maior 's means, to buy each of 
them a quantity of corn, and to lay it up in the Bridge-House." — 

By 35 Elizabeth, cap. 7—" An Act for reviving, continuing, explain- 
ing, and perfecting of divers statutes " — this Act of 1562 was 

amended as follows : — 

the World : Past and Present 






Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

" XXII. Provided also, and be it further enacted by the authority 
aforesaid, that every person eating any flesh upon any fish-days, 
contrary to the Form of the said statute made for the maintenance 
of the navy [1562], shall forfeit only 20*., or else suffer only one 
month's close imprisonment without bail or mainprize ; and every 
person or persons within whose house any such offence shall be done, 
and being privy or knowing thereof, and not effectually publishing or 
disclosing the same to some public officer, having authority to 
punish the same, for every such offence to forfeit only 13*. +d., 
anything in the said statute contained to the contrary notwith- 
"And such a dear year was that of 1594, Sir John Spencer, maior, 
who therefore (it being now winter time) called upon the companies, 
viz., those of them that had not laid in their proportion, to do it 
within so many days ; corn being then brought in from foreign 
parts." — Stow. 
Reign of Elizabeth. — There was published by John Powel, sometime 
clerk of the market : The boke of the assyse of breade t Sec, " corrected 
and enlarged." There were many other editions of this work, but 
we propose here to quote from the edition of this date, which we 
believe contains the text as confirmed by the Lords of the Privy 
Council (" Christoph. Hatton, Cane") about this period as follows : — 

"Ancient Laws, Customs and Good Ordinances, set down for Bakers, 
in making, sizing, and selling all sorts of Lawful Bread, which 
by the Laws are vendible unto the Queens Subjects in the 
Commonwealth retailing the same. 

" First — That no manner of person or persons shall keep a common 
bakehouse in cities and corporative towns, but such persons as have 
been apprenticed into the same mystery and brought up therein for 
the space of seven years, or else otherwise skilful in the good making 
and true sizing of all sorts of bread ; and shall put his own mark or 
seal upon all sorts of his man's bread, which he or they shall make 
or sell as before is mentioned. 

" Item — That no baker or any other persons do make, bake, utter and 
sell any kinds or sorts of bread in the commonwealth, but such which 
the statutes and antient ordinances of this realm do allow him to bake 
and sell : that is to say, they shall bake and sell symnel bread, and 
wastel, white, wheaten, household, and horse bread ; and none other 
kinds of bread, to put to sale into her Majesty's subjects. 

" Item — They must make and bake farthing white bread, halfpenny 
white, penny white, halfpenny wheaten, penny wheaten bread, penny 
household, and twopenny household loaves : and none of greater size, 
upon pain of forfeiture, unto poor people all such great bread, which 
they or any of them shall make, to sell of greater size (the time of 
Christmas always excepted) . 

" Item — They shall not utter and sell to any innholder, or victualler, 
either in man's bread or horse bread (which shall retail the same) but 
only 13d. worth for ud., without any poundage or other advantage. 

" Item — They shall sell and deliver unto innholders and victuallers in 
horse bread but 3 loaves for a penny, and 13 pennyworth for izd. 
(as aforesaid), every one of the same three horse loaves weighing the 
full weight of a penny white loaf, whether wheat be good, cheap, or 

" Item — That no baker or other person or persons shall at any time 
or times hereafter make, utter, or sell by retail, within or without 
their houses, unto any the queen's subjects, any spice cakes, buns, 
bisket, or other spice bread (being bread out of size, and not by law 
allowed), except it be at burials, or upon the Friday before Easter, or 
at Christmas ; upon pain of forfeiture of all such spice broad, to \k» 


Walfoed — On the Fa/mines of 


1595 .... 

t70 .... 

1601 .... 
•07 .... 

15 .... 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

" Item — Whereas there are in cities and corporative towns, common 
bakers using the mystery of baking there, and within the same towns, 
common bakers which come into the market with their bread to be 
sold, they shall not only bring with them such kinds or sorts of sized 
bread as the law and ordinances do allow to be made and sold, as afore- 
said, but also shall keep and observe this order in the weight of 
their bread, as hereafter followeth. Because the said foreigners do 
not bear and pay within the same cities and towns, such scot and 
lot as the bakers of the same towns do. 

" First — The foreigner's halfpenny white loaves shall weigh half an 
ounce more in every loaf than the bakers of the same towns half- 
penny white loaves do. 

" Item — Their penny white loaves shall weigh one ounce more to 
every loaf than the bakers of the same towns penny white loaf do. 

" Item — Their halfpenny wheaten loaves shall weigh one ounce in 
every loaf more than, &c. 

" Item — Their penny wheaten loaves shall weigh 2 ounces more 
than, &c. 

" Item — Their penny household loaves, &c. 

"Item — Their twopenny household loaves shall weigh 4 ounces 
more than, &c. 

" Provided always, that the clerk of the market of Her Majesty's 
household, his deputy or deputies, maiors, bailiffs and other officers 
of cities, corporative towns and liberties, shall look into, have diligent 
care and respect unto the due performance and execution of these 
articles, and they shall and may from time to time freely give and 
distribute all such unlawful bread as shall be hereafter made, and put 
to sale, being contrary to these articles before mentioned, unto poor 
prisoners, or any other poor people. Willing and requiring all 
justices of peace, constables, bailiffs, and other officers to be aiding, 
assisting, and helping all the aforesaid officers in the due execution 
thereof, as they will answer to the contrary at their perils." 
There was published John Stow's Surveys of the Cities of London and 
Westminster, and in Book V. will be found chapter xxv, with the 
following heading : " Antient Assize and weight of bread : an 
Ordinance for it, according to the price of wheat. Old Orders for 
Bakers. How the Assize of Bread was made each year. The Bakers 
Halimotes [? Hallmotes]. Assay of Bread according to the Regale 
of England. Laws and Charges for Bakers. Miller, Baker, Brewer, 
Butcher, Fisher, Cook, Innholder, Tavener, Tallow-chandler, Spicer, 
Weaver, Tanner, Cordwayner, Carrier, White Tawyer, Mercer, Ac., 
Forestallers. All their Assizes. Standard for Weights adjusted. 
Measure for Seacoal and other things measurable upon the Thames." 
Wherein will be found much that is of interest on the questions 
treated of in this article. We have here quoted from the edition of 
1713, which had pas3ed through many hands after its original author. 
By 48 Elizabeth, cap. 7, justices of the peace were directed to compel 

those who cast down growing corn to make satisfaction. 
James I. The lord mayor of London addressed a letter (dated 
19th March) to the lords of the council, reporting that on account of 
the exceeding high price of corn, and the scarcity, the bakers were 
scarcely able to keep 1 1 ounces weight in the wheaten penny loaf, 
and requesting that license might be granted to those who will bring 
corn to the port of London, and that if such quantities as should be 
brought in were not vended or uttered there, it might be lawful for 
them to ship the same out again without paying customs. 
About this date the said J. Powel, clerk of the market, reported to 
James 1 and his council that " divers bakers and other persons taking 
upon them the mystery of baking and uttering of bread unto the 
iing's majesty's subjects in the commonwealth, for their own private 

the World : Past and Present. 



1615 ... 


16 .... 

2*o .... 

'27 .... 
32 .... 

'50 .... 

'69 .... 
70 .... 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food—Contd. 

lucre and commodity, did not only make and sell to the subjects, 
breads of odd sizes, made by their own inventions, but also divers 
kinds and sorts of bread ; which were both repugnant to the laws and 
good ordinances of the realm, and likewise hurtful to the common- 
wealth." Further orders and regulations were thereupon issued, and 
the master and wardens of the company of bakers were especially 
ordered " to look into and have diligent care and respect unto the due 
performance of these articles." 

The price of indoor labour at this date is indicated by the following 
tailor's bill : For making a suit of clothes, 4*. ; for making a cloak, 
1*. 6d. ; for making a morning gown, 1*. %d. ; for making a black 
gown, 1*. 6d. 

See Table X, this date, as to relaxation of prohibitions against fore- 

By 3 Car. I, cap. 4 (5) — " An Act for continuance and repeal of divers 
statutes " — the 3 and 4 Edward VI, cap. 19 and 21 ; the 5 Elizabeth, 
cap. 5 ; the 21 James I, cap. 22 ; and other Acts mentioned, in this 
and other tables in this paper were continued. 

The expense of living in the metropolis is said to have increased con- 
siderably about this time. The poor's rates in the country also went 
up. These incidents were attributed to the nobility and gentry living 
constantly with their families in London. In the following year 
several regulations were made by the Star Chamber for bringing 
down the prices of provisions and of horso meat in London and 
Westminster. The wretchedness of the poor was in some degree 
ascribed to the fraudulent practices of bakers. Ordinaries were 
limited to 2*. a-head for dinner (wine included), and to 8d. a-head 
for a servant attending his master. Respecting innkeepers, it is said 
that, "considering the present price of hay and oats, 6d. a night 
for hay and stable-room, and 6d. a peck for oats were sufficient, 
without anything being allowed for litter." — Rym Fgbd., xix, 476. 

Commonwealth. The prices of food and labour had ranged during the 
half -century now ending as follows : — 

Food: £ 8. d. 

Wheat, per quarter 1 14 - 

» 2 - - 

A fat ox 9 10 - 

A veal - 17 - 

Mutton, per stone of 8lbs. - 2 3 

A lamb -68 

Tongues, cured, per doz. - 12 - 

Chine of beef - 18 - 

Labour. 8. d. 

Labourers, ordinary, per day - 10 

Women shearers 1 

Reapers 1 

Journeymen artisans 1 

Plumbers 1 

Glaziers 1 

Millwrights 1 

Collar-makers 1 

Armourers 1 

Knackers 1 

Master mason 1 

A mason with diet 1 

Apprentice masons with 1 

diet J " 

Apprentices with diet 











- 4 

The court of aldermen of the city of London ordered an assise of bread 
to be held. 

By 22 Charles II, cap. 8 — " An Act for ascertaining the measures of 
come and salt " — it is recited that there was a great variety of measures 
existing in the " several countyes, cittyes, burroughes, ports, and 
other places of this realme for the measureing, buying, and selling of 
all sorts of graine, salt and other commodityes usually bought and 
sould by the bush ell, to the great defrauding and oppressing of the 
people, contrary to the great charter," &c. It is therefore enacted 
that the " Winchester measure" only be \xafc&, uik&et ^^s&sJtoj <& &f>*« 


Walford— On the Famines of 


1670 .... 

1701 .... 

'09 .... 


13 •••• 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

And to the end that there might be " a just and certaine measure, " 
so as to determine all controversies, there was to be affixed before the 
29th of September this year within the cities, borough and market 
towns, " one measure of brasse provided and chained in the market 
place upon paine of forfeit and loose for every person soe neglecting 
respectively the summe of 5 J." Constables to search for other 
measures and to break them. (See 1391). 

By 22 and 23 Car. II, cap. 12 (2), corn, &c, was not to be sold without 

By 1 Anne, cap. 26 — " An Act for the relief of the masters of hoys 
and other vessels carrying corn and other inland provisions within 
the port of London" — it is recited that certain officers of Her 
Majesty's customs had for their own profit and lucre required and 
exacted great fees for transires and cocquets, " to the great dis- 
couragement of the county farmers, and oppression of the said 
hoymen," all of which was ordered to be discontinued. The rights 
of the ports of Sandwich and Ipswich [described in the Act as being 
located in the counties of Kent and Essex !] reserved. 

By another Act of the same year, viz., 8 Anne, cap. 18 — "An Act to 
regulate the Price and Assize of Bread " — it is recited : — 

" Whereas by the statute made in the one-and-fiftieth year of the 
reign of King Henry the Third [intituled Assisa Panis et CervisuB], 
provision was made, amongst other things, for settling the assise of 
bread ; but the said statute is expressed in terms so obscure and 
impracticable in these times that many doubts and difficulties have 
arisen, and daily do arise, in the construction thereof, whereby little 
or no observance hath in many places been made, either of the due 
assise, or reasonable price of bread ; and covetous and evil-disposed 
persons, taking advantage of the same, have, for their own gain and 
lucre, deceived and oppressed Her Majesty's subjects, and more 
especially the poorer sort of people ; for remedy whereof for the 
future, and that a plain and constant rule and method may hencefor- 
ward be duly observed and kept, in the making and assising of the 
several sorts of bread made for sale be it enacted, &c." 

So much of the said statute as relates to the assise of bread is then 
repealed, and it was enacted that after 1st May, 1710, the lord mayor 
and aldermen of London, and the mayor and bailiffs, aldermen or 
other chief magistrates of other cities and towns, and the justices of 
the peace in places where there was no mayor, &c., should set the 
assise and weight of all sorts of bread, having respect to the price of 
grain, &c., no person to sell br^ad other than such as should be 
licensed by the lord mayor, and other authorities named. Bread to 
be made according to a scale in the Act, regulating weight according 

1 to quality of the flour and the price of corn. All bread to be marked. 
Bakehouses might be searched, &c. 

This Act was amended and continued by various Acts at different 
periods, as will be shown in what follows. 

There was enacted 1 George I (statute 2), cap. 26 — " An Act for con- 
tinuing several laws therein mentioned, relating to coals, hemp and 
flax, Irish and Scotch linen, and the assise of Bread ; and for giving 
power to adjourn the quarter sessions for the county of Anglesea, for 
the purposes therein mentioned." After 1st September, 1715, bakers 
making bread deficient in weight should for every ounce forfeit 5*., 
for lesser deficiencies 2*. 6d. 

By 5 George I, cap. 25 — " An Act for continuing the Act made in the 
8th year of the late Queen Anne, to regulate the price and assise of 
Bread ; and for continuing the Act made in the twelfth year of His 
late Majesty's reign, for the better encouragement of the making of 
sail cloth in Great Britain" — the Act of Anne, as amended, con- 
tinued for five years. 

the World : Past and Present. 







Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food—Contd. 

By 10 George I, cap. 17 — " An Act for continuing Acts for preventing 
theft and rapine upon the northern borders of England ; and for 
better regulation of pilots ; and for regulating the price and assize 
of Bread; and for better encouraging of the making of sail-cloth in 
Great Britain " — the Act of Anne, as amended, was extended for seven 

By 3 George IT, cap. 19 — " An Act for continuing and amending an 
Act for regulating the price and assize of Bread " — &c, which 
recites the Act of 1709, " And whereas the said Act having been by 
subsequent Acts further continued, was found very useful and 
beneficial, but the same is now near expiring." It was now con- 
tinued to 25th March, 1738. 

"II. And whereas the court of lord mayor and aldermen of the 
city of London and some other magistrates, have thought fit to set 
down and ascertain the price for which half-peck and quartern 
loaves ought to be sold ; which prices the bakers have sometimes 
complied with, but at other times have refused to do so, to the deceit 
and oppression of His Majesty's subjects, especially of the poorer 
sort of people. And whereas some doubts have arisen touching the 
penalty they have incurred f cr such their refusal, for remedy whereof be 
it enacted, that from and after the 25th day of June, 1730, if any 
baker or other person or persons baking or making bread for sale, or 
exposing bread to sale, shall sell any peck, half -peck, or quartern loaf 
or loaves at any greater or higher price than shall be set and ascer- 
tained by the said court of lord mayor and aldermen, or by the 
lord mayor of the said city for the time being, by order of the said 
court or by the mayor, bailiffs, aldermen, or chief magistrate for the 
time being of any other city, town corporate or borough, or by any 
two or more justices of the peace in such towns and places where 
there shall be no such mayor, bailiffs, aldermen, or chief magistrate, 
he, she, or they so doing, being thereof lawfully convicted, shall for 
every such offence forfeit the sum of io*. ; the said forfeiture or 
forfeitures to be given to the informer or informers, &c. 

" III. Provided always, that before any reduction is made in the 
assise of bread by the court of lord mayor and aldermen, a copy of 
the prices delivered in by the meal weighers for the said city for the 
time being, shall be left at the common hall of the Bakers Company by 
the space of twelve hours before any such reduction, to the intent that 
the said company shall have an opportunity to be heard thereupon 
before the said court." 

By 12 George II, cap. 13 — " An Act for continuing the Act made in the 
eighth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Anne, to regulate the 
price and assise of Bread, &c." — which recites, " Whereas the laws 
hereinafter mentioned (which have by experience been found useful 
and beneficial) are near expiring," and the Act of 1709, as amended 
by that of 1714, is continued, with amendments as follows : — 

" II. And whereas several doubts and difficulties have arisen touch- 
ing the powers of the magistrates of burghs and corporate towns, 
and of the powers of the justices of the peace in such other towns 
and divisions where no magistrates are, in that part of Great Britain 
called Scotland, touching the regulating of the price and assise of 
bread ; be it therefore declared and enacted by the authority 
aforesaid that the said Act of [1719 as amended] .... does extend, 
and shall be with all the powers, provisions, clauses and declarations, 
extended to that part of Great Britain called Scotland." 

In the Dublin News Letter of 8th May this year, was the following 
regarding the prices of food in Ireland : " We hear from Derry that 
provisions are as cheap there as they were ever known ; there being 
20 lbs. of meal for yd., 20 oz. of butter for z\d. % 18 eggs for id^and. 
potatoes for 3d. a-bushel." 


Walfobd — On the Famines of 


1740 .... 

'57 .... 


Table IX.— Restrictions on the Price of Food— Contd. 

By 22 George II, cap. 40 — " An Act to continue several law§ 

and for regulating the price and assise of Bread/ 1 and which continues 
the Act of 1700 (as amended by the Acts already reviewed) to 14th 
June, 1757, and proceeds : 

" XXI. And whereas it is often very difficult for the magistrate or 
justice, or justices of the peace before whom bread is complained of, 
to know under what denominations the bread ought to be weighed, 
pursuant to the directions of the said Acts "...." Be it enacted 
.... That every common baker, and every person who shall make 
bread or bake for sale, or any ways expose to Hale, any sort of bread 
whatever, shall from and after the 1st day of August which shall be 
in the year of our Lord 1749, fairly imprint or mark, or cause to be 
imprinted or marked on every loaf go by him made or exposed for 
sale, the letter b hereinafter-mentioned (that is to say), upon every loaf 
exposed to sale as wheaten bread, a large Roman W II, and upon 
every loaf exposed to sale of household bread, a large Roman H, and 
every person selling or exposing to sale not marked as aforesaid, 
shall forfeit and pay the sum of 20*. to the informer. ....." 

" Provided always that nothing in this Act was to extend, or be 
construed to extend, to any sort of bread but that mentioned in the 
said Acts of 1709 and the amending Acts." 
There was enacted 31 George II, cap. 25 — " An Act for establishing a 
free market for the sale of Corn and Grain within the City and Liberty 
of Westminster" — which recites, " Whereas the establishment of a 
free market for the sale of com and grain within the citv or liberty of 
Westminster, would be very advantageous to the inhabitants of the 
said city and liberty, as well as adjacent parts ; but such market 
cannot be established without the aid of parliament," there was to 
be a toll paid to the trustees of the said market of 1 d. for every sack 
of corn, grain, malt, meal, or flour, and \d. for every bushel of seed. 

[Note. At this date all the other markets were under greater or 
less restrictions.] 

The same year there was enacted 31 George II, cap. 29 — " An Act 
for the due making of Bread ; and to regulate the price and assise 
thereof ; and to punish persons who shall adulterate Meal, Flour, or 
Bread " — which recites {inter alia) : " And whereas it is expedient to 
reduce into one Act the several laws now in force relating to the due 
making, and to the price and assise of bread, and to make some altera- 
tions in, and amendments to the same." From 29th September, 
1758, the Acts of Henry III and of Anno were repealed ; and there 
was enacted a " General Ordinance for setting an assise and price of 
bread." The assise was to be regulated by the price grain, meal, and 
flour bore in the market (with detailed machinery for ascertaining the 
same), and " the profit to be allowed to the baker." All this was set 
out in tables appended to the Act, supplemented by regulations, 
worked out with the most elaborate care, and there was included the 
following : 

" XLV. Provided likewise, That neither this Act, nor anything 
herein contained, «hall extend or bo construed to extend to prejudice 
the ancient right or custom of the two universities of Oxford or 
Cambridge, or either of them, or of their or either of their clerks of 
the Market, or to practice within the several jurisdictions of the said 
Universities, or either of them used, to set, ascertain and appoint 
the assise and weight of all sorts of bread to be sold or exposed to 
sale within their several jurisdictions, but that they, and every of 
them, shall weigh severally and respectively, from time to time, as 
there shall be occasion, set, ascertain and appoint within their several 
and respective jurisdictions the assise and weight of all sorts of 
bread to be sold or exposed to sale by any baker or other person 
whatsoever, within the limits oi tWvr »eN©raX ym%<\\^'\otvv *ui ihall 

the Wot Id : Past and Present. 






Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food— Contd. 

and may require and punish the breach thereof, as fully and freely 
in all respects as they used to do, and as if this Act had never been 
made ; anything herein contained to the contrary thereof notwith- 
standing." See Table XII (1555). 

Under section 25 of this Act, magistrates might enter premises of 
suspected miller or baker and search for adulterated meal. 

By 32 George II, cap. 18 — " An Act to [inter alia] .... appro- 
priate certain penalties mentioned in an Act made in the last session 
of parliament for the due making of Bread ; and to regulate the 
price and assise thereof; and to punish persons who shall adulterate 
Mealy Flour y or Bread " — one-half of the penalty went to the prose- 
cutor ; the other half as the magistrate should direct. 

There was enacted 32 George II, cap. 61 — "An Act for discharging 
the inhabitants of the town of Manchester, in the county palatine of 
Lancaster, from the custom of grinding their corn and grain, except 
malt, at certain water corn mills in the said town, called the School 
Mills ; and for making proper recompense to the feoffees of such 
mills." This although contained in the schedule of the statute at 
large as a public Act, is regarded as a local and private Act, and its 
title alone is printed. 

By 3 George III, cap. 6 — " An Act for explaining and amending an Act 
made in the thirty-first year of the reign of his late Majesty, George II, 
intituled an Act, &c. ; so far as the same relates to* that part of 
Great Britain called Scotland ; and for rendering the said Act more 
effectual in that part of the United Kingdom." The regulations of 
procedure were very minute,, for instance, the magistrates and 
justices were to inquire into and take proof of the prices which the 
several sorts of bread, corn, meal, and flour, sold for in the public 
markets ; and where there were no public markets, then to take 
proof of the present or last selling price thereof, so as to ascertain the 
price the same costs the baker ; they giving previous notice to the 
deacon of the baker's company, or to two reputable bakers, to attend 
the taking of such proof. This evidence was to be engrossed in a 
book, and signed by the witnesses and the magistrates taking the 
same ; and the respective prices to be declared, and entered in the 
said book, which was to be free to public inspection. The assise and 
weight of bread for sale to be ascertained according thereto ; and was 
not liable to be varied, but to continue in force till a new one was 

Upon application and proof offered of a sufficient variation of the 
price of any species of the said grain, by any two inhabitants or 
bakers, since the last assise, fresh evidence was to be taken of the 
current price, and a new assise to be made conformable thereto. 

In the same session was also enacted 3 George III, cap. 11 — " An Act 
for explaining and amending an Act made in the thirty-first year of the 
reign of his late Majesty George II, intituled an Act for the due 
making of Bread, and to regulate the price and assise thereof ; and to 
punish persons who shall adulterate Meal, Flour, or Bread," wherein 
it is recited that the Act of 1757 (cap. 29) "is deficient in several of 
the provisions thereby made, when an assise of bread is not set 
pursuant to directions of the said Act." For remedy whereof, it was 
enacted that no " assised" and "prised" bread were to be made at the 
same time in the same place. Justices at any general quarter sessions, 
or petty sessions, might appoint which of the sorts of assise, or prised 
loaves, and what other sorts of bread, and of what grain, should be 
made for sale ; they causing an entry to be made of such order, which 
was to be free for inspection, and a copy thereof to be set up in some 
market or public place, or published in the county newspapers. " No 
justice within their respective jurisdiction shall at any time allow tta 

I making for sale or selling any sorts of assise bread made oj ike ^Vour 


Walfoed — On tlue Famines of 




'67 ... 



Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

or the meal of wheat, other than and besides wheaten and household 
bread, and loaves of white bread of the price of id. or under." A like 
proportion as to weight was to be kept between the white and 
wheaten bread and the wheaten and household assise bread, all of 
which was set out in detail. 

A proportion in the price was to be kept in the peck loaf and half- 
peck ; and its other sort divisions, both in the wheaten and in house- 
hold bread ; and the household was to be one-fourth cheaper than 
the wheaten. The weights which the peck loaf, and its sub-divisions, 
were to be of in every sort of bread, are set out in detail. The weight 
if challenged to be taken before a justice within twenty -four hours 
after being baked, sold, or exposed for sale, and fines imposed, unless 
deficiency should be satisfactorily accounted for. Bread of an inferior 
quality to wheaten not to be sold at a higher price than household. 
A large Roman W to be imprinted on all wheaten bread made for 
sale, and a large Roman H on all household bread. Bread made of 
any other grain than wheat to be impressed with such letters as the 
justices should order, they causing an entry of the order to be made 
for inspection. Where no such order made by justices, the baker to 
mark every loaf with two distinct capital letters. Justices might 
enter the houses of bakers, and search for, examine and weigh all 
bread made for or exposed to sale, and bread found defective in 
weight, or not duly marked, or wanting in due baking or goodness, or 
being fraudulently mixed, &c, might be seized and given to the poor. 
The rights of the two universities were reserved. This measure con- 
sisted of twenty-five sections, many of them very complex. 

By 6 George III, cap. 17 — "An Act for explaining and amending so 
much of an Act made in the first year of the reign of James II 
[1685], intituled, &c, as relates to the city of London" — it is 
enacted that the same duties which are to be performed by justices 
in quarter sessions under the Act of 1685 (and that of 1670) are to 
be performed in London by the lord mayor and aldermen ; but in 
January and July, as well as in April and October. 

" The magistrates of Edinburgh and Glasgow have put a stop to the 
exportation of grain, tallow, and butter, in their respective jurisdic- 
tions ; a power which the magistrates of London do not seem to 
possess." — Gentlemen's Magazine, February. 

"At a court of aldermen held on purpose to inquire into the state of 
the meal trade in London, it appeared that a very small quantity of 
flour was then in town ; that the principal part of the flour destined 
for the supply of the London market was on board barges and other 
vessels, which could not come down on account of the communica- 
tion being stoppt by the frost ; and that unless some provision was 
made for defraying the extraordinary expense of unshipping, and 
bringing it by land carnage, there would be a want of bread. It 
also appeared that one grc at reason of the present short stock of flour 
at the London market was, that the riots and tumults in those 
counties from which London was principally supplied, had prevented 
the usual quantity of meal being made for the London market. 
Bread rose on this inquiry to 2*. lod. a-peck." — Gentlemen's Maga- 
zine, February, 1767. 

By 13 George III, cap. 62 — " An Act for better regulating the assise 
and making of Bread " — it is recited : 

" Whereas according to the ancient order and custom of the realm, 
there hath been, from time immemorial, a standard wheaten bread, 
made of flour, being the whole product of the wheat whereof it was 
made ; and whereas by an Act passed in the 31st year of the reign of 
George II, intituled* &c. [already mentioned], and by an Act passed 
in the 3rd year of the reign of his present majesty, for explaining 
and. amending the said recited Act, Wo sorts of bread made of 

the World : Past and Present. 




Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

wheat only are allowed to be made for sale (that is to say), wheaten 
and household ; whereby the flour, being the whole produce of the 
wheat, is so divided in the making of bread for sale, as that this 
standard wheaten bread made according to the ancient order and 
custom of the realm could be no longer made for sale ; and whereas 
household bread, such as is intended by the said Act of George II, 
to be made for sale, is not generally made for sale, whereby and for 
want of the said standard wheaten bread continued, many incon- 
veniences have arisen, and many of the inferior classes of the people, 
more especially, have been under the necessity of buying bread at a 
higher price than they could afford, to their great hurt and detriment ; 
for remedy whereof, &c." 

And ifc was enacted that after 29th September, 1773, standard 
wheaten bread be allowed to be made, baked, and sold. The weight, 
price, and proportion of the different loaves were again placed under 
regulation ; and standard wheaten bread was not to be sold as " prised 
loaves " at one and the same time with " assised loaves " of the same 
wheaten bread. 
The weekly bill of mortality published Tuesday, 16th August, this 
year, contained the following : — 


The assize of Bread, set forth this 16th day of 
August, 1777, by the order of the court of mayor 
and aldermen of the said city, to commence and take 
place on Thursday next, and to be observed and kept until the 
further order of the lord mayor of the said city, or the said court of 
mayor and aldermen, by all persons who shall make, or bake for sale, 
any bread within the jurisdiction of the said court of mayor and 
aldermen, that is to say : 

to wit. 

The penny loaf, or two half- f wheaten 
penny loaves, to weigh \ household 

The two-penny loaf 

lb. oz. dr. 
- 9 4 

The three-penny loaf 

1 household 




IZ 10 

2 9 


lb. oz. dr. 

The peck loaf to weigh 17 6 - 

The half -peck loaf 8 11 - 

The quartern loaf 4 5 

„ J* wheaten 
\ household 



To be sold for 

d. f. 




-11 - 




Note. — All loaves, if complained of, must be weighed before a 
magistrate within twenty-four hours after baking or exposing thereof 
to sale, and must be according to the respective weights in the above 

Six drams make an ounce, and sixteen ounces a pound. 

Item. — It is hereby ordered and appointed, that no person, within 
the jurisdiction aforesaid, shall, alter Wednesday next, until the 
further order of the lord mayor, or of the said court of mayor and 
aldermen, make, or bake for sale, or sell or expose to or for sale, 
within the jurisdiction aforesaid, any half -quartern loaves. 

And the better to distinguish and ascertain the two sorts of bread 
hereby ordered to be made, one from the other, there is to be 
imprinted and marked on every loaf of bread which shall be made, 
sold, carried out, or exposed to or for sale within the \ut\&&\sk\sf&. 
aforesaid, as wheaten bread, a large Roman. ^ , &t& on cswrj Vm2L A 


Walford — On the Famines of 







Table IX. — Eestrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

bread, which shall be made, sold, carried out, or exposed to or for 
sale within the jurisdiction aforesaid, as household bread, a large 
Roman H. And the penalty of every omission is 20*. 

The price of salt, set by order of the court of lord mayor and 
aldermen, dated the 21st of October, 1735, is 5*. the bushel ; 56 lbs. 
to the bushel, and so in proportion for any lesser quantity ; and 
whosoever shall sell at a higher price, or shall refuse to sell at the 
price aforesaid, forfeits 5Z. 

There was enacted the 36 George III, cap. 22 — " An Act to permit 
bakers to make and sell certain sorts of Bread," which recited — 
" Whereas it is expedient, in order to diminish the consumption of 
wheat, that bakers should be permitted to make and sell in all places 
various kinds of mixed bread, and such kinds of wheaten bread as 
they cannot now sell in places where an assise is set : And whereas it 
is not expedient to apply to such sorts of bread the restrictions con- 
tained in this table of the assise and price of bread now by law 
established." And it was then enacted that loaves might be made 
of wheat, deducting only 5 lbs. of bran per bushel, or mixed with 
any grain or potatoes, and sold at such prices as should be deemed 
reasonable. All such mixed bread to be marked to distinguish the 
sorts. If such bread were found deficient in weight according to the 
assise prescribed by 31 George 1 1, cap. 29, or was not marked, or had 
any mixture not denoted by the mark, &c, the offender was to be 
liable to the penalties of that Act. This Act was not to infringe upon 
the rights and privileges of the city of London, or of the Worshipful 
Company of Bakers of the said city. 

By 37 George III, cap. 98 — " An Act to amend and render more effectual 
an Act made in the thirty-first year of the reign of his late Majesty 
King George II, intituled ' An Act, &c.' [already recited in full], so 
far as the same relates to the assise and making of Bread to be sold 
in the city of London and the liberties thereof, and within the weekly 
bills of mortality and within 10 miles of the Royal Exchange — " corn 
meters were to enter in a book at the corn meter's office every 
Monday accounts of the wheat worked and delivered by them respec- 
tively in the preceding week. And many other minute regulations 
were laid down. 

There was enacted, 38 George III, cap. 62 — "An Act to empower 
magistrates and justices of the peace, in setting the assise of Bread, 
to make allowance on account of the additional duty on Salt." In 
setting the assise of bread, 5*. per quarter was to be added to the 
average price of wheat, on account of the additional duty on salt. 

Same session there was enacted 38 George III, cap. lv (local and 
private) , " An Act for amending an Act made in the last session of 
parliament, intituled 'An Act to amend, &c.' [1797], which recited 
that it had been found necessary that certain additional regulations 
should be made, and further powers given for rendering more effective 
the Act of 1797." It is also further recited : — 

" And whereas in setting the assise of bread in conformity to the 
directions of the said Act of the thirty-seventh year of the reign of 
his present Majesty, it frequently happens that the average price of 
wheat or of flour returned does not agree with any of the prices spe- 
cified in the table affixed to the said Act, from which the assise of 
bread is directed to be set, and the assise is then set from the price in 
the said table nearest the said average price returned, by reason 
whereof the assise and price of bread is at times higher than by the 
said Act is intended, to the injury of the public, and at other times 
not so high, to the injury of the baker." 

Eor remedy whereof an account of the differences was to be kept 

in a book at the cocket offi.ce tiU. they amounted to half an assise, 

the World : Past and Present, 






Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

and then the next assise to be set accordingly. This measure con- 
tained in the whole twenty-five sections, many of them very com- 
plicated and penal. 
There were several enactments in the session of parliament held this 
year, which fall to be reviewed here : — 

1. In the first session, the 41 George III, cap. 16 (Great Britain) — 
" An Act to prevent until the 16th day of November, 1801, and from 
thence to the end of six weeks from the commencement of the then 
next session of parliament, the manufacturing of any fine flour from 
wheat or grain, and the making of any bread solely from the fine 
flour of Wheat ; and to repeal an Act passed in the thirty-sixth year 
of the reign of His present Majesty [36 G-eorge III, cap. 22], for 
permitting bakers to make and sell certain sorts of bread, and to 
make more effectual provision for the same," which recites " whereas 
there is just ground to expect that the supply of good and wholesome 
bread will be materially augmented, and the price thereof reduced by 
preventing the consumption of bread made from fine flour." Where- 
upon it was enacted that from 17th January, 1801, in London or 
within 40 miles thereof, and from 24th July in every other part of 
Great Britain, no meal shall be dressed finer than through certain 
specified wire machines or cloths, under penalties ranging from 5 J. 
down to 10*. per bushel. This measure consisted of twenty-two 
sections, many of them very complex. 

2. In the second session, the 41 G-eorge III, cap. 1 (United 
Kingdom) — " An Act to suspend until the 15th day of March, 1801, 
so much of an Act made in the last session of parliament, intituled 
. . . [41 G-eorge III, cap. 16 (Great Britain)], as relates to other 
Grain and Wheat ; and for indemnifying persons who have dressed, 
sold, and used any Meal or Flour of such other Grain finer than is 
prescribed by the said Act." 

3. The 41 George III, cap. 2 (United Kingdom) — " An Act to 
repeal an Act made in the last session of parliament . . . [41 
George III, cap. 16 (Great Britain)], and to indemnify millers and 
others persons who have dressed, or used any Meal or Flour of a 
finer description than allowed by the said Act." The indemnity 
consisted of being held free from all actions for infringement of former 
measure now repealed, we presume, as unworkable. 

4. By the 41 George III, cap. 12 (United Kingdom), intituled, &c., 
the 36 George III, cap. 22, was amended, the recital being : — 

" Whereas by an Act made in the thirty-six year of the reign of 
U is present Majesty, intituled * An Act,' &c, all persons are allowed 
to make and sell in any place, under certain provisions and restric- 
tions, the several sorts of loaves in the said Act particularly described, 
made of the whole produce of the wheat, deducting only 5 lbs. 
weight of bran per bushel ; or made of any sort of wheaten flour, 
mixed with meal or flour of barley, rye, oats, buckwheat, Indian 
corn, pease, beans, rice, or any other land of grain whatsoever, or 
with potatoes, in such proportions and at such prices, for the said 
loaves respectively, as the maker and sellers thereof shall deem proper 
and reasonable, whether any assise of bread shall be set in such place 
or not : and whereas it is desirable to encourage the making of good 
and wholesome bread, containing a larger proportion of the produce 
of wheat than is contained in the bread upon which the assise is 
usually set, and for that purpose to extend the provisions of the said 
Act, so far as the same relate to the making and selling of wheaten 
bread, &c." 

For all of which directions in minute detail were given. 
There were several enactments this year upon food supplies, of which 
however only one falls to be noticed in this table ^ vii.« — 

The 42 George III, cap. 14 — " An Act to rop&& rca. K<& . . 


Walford— On the Famines of 


1802 .... 

'05 .... 

'13 .. 

'15 .. 

'22 ... 

'24 ... 


Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 

[41 George III, cap. 7 (Great Britain)] . . . and to indemnify 
bakers and other persons who have sold or exposed to sale any Bread 
within the time prohibited by the said Act." 

There was enacted 45 George III, cap. 23 [local and personal] — " An 
Act for amending an Act passed in the thirty-seventh year of His 
present Majesty, to amend and render more effectual an Act made in 
the thirty-first year of His late Majesty, for the due making of Bread, 
and to regulate the price and assise thereof, and to punish persons 
who shall adulterate Meal, Flour, or Bread, so far as the same relates 
to the assize and making of Bread to be sold in the city of London, 
and the liberties thereof, and within the weekly bills of mortality, 
and io miles of the Royal Exchange," which recites: — 

" And whereas by reason of the great increase that has taken 
place in the several articles used in the making and baking of bread, 
since the passing of the said Act, it is become expedient that the 
makers and bakers of bread for sale within the city of London and 
liberties thereof, and within the weekly bills of mortality, and within 
io miles of the Royal Exchange, should receive a greater allowance 
for their charges, labour, pains, livelihood, and profit than is given 
by the said Act." 

The increased allowance is then Bet out in detail. An additional 
allowance was also to be made on account of the new duties on salt 
under 45 George III, cap. 14. 

There was enacted this vear the 43 George III, cap. 116 — " An Act to 
alter and amend two Acts of the tliirty-first year of King George II., 
and the thirteenth year of His present Majesty, so far as relates to the 
price and assise of Bread to be sold out of the city of London and 
the liberties thereof, and beyond the weekly bill of mortality, and 
io miles of the Royal Exchange." This was a most formidable 
measure, filling up many pages of the statute book ; but happily long 
since repealed. 

There was enacted 55 George III. cap. 99 [local and personal] — " An 
Act to repeal the Acts now in force relating to Bread to be sold in 
the city of London and liberties thereof, and within the weekly 
bills of mortality, and io miles of the Royal Exchange; and to 
prevent the adulteration of Meal, Flour, and Bread, and to regulate 
the weights of Bread within the same limits." 

This Act was amended in 1819 by 59 George III, cap. 127 [local 
and personal] ; and in 1820, by 60 George III, cap. 1 [local, &c.], 
it was continued to 24th June that year ; and by 1 George IV, 
cap. 4 [local, &c], it was extended to 24th June, 1822. 

There was enacted 3 George IV, cap. 106 [local and personal] — " An 
Act, to repeal the Acts now in force relating to Bread to be sold in 
the city of London, and the liberties thereof, and within the weekly 
bills of mortality, and io miles of the Royal Exchange ; and to 
provide other regulations for the making and sale of Bread, and 
preventing the adulteration of Meal, Flour, and Bread, within the 
limits aforesaid." This was a lengthy and highly penal measure, and 
may be regarded as the first effectual step in that new and highly 
necessary crusade against adulteration of food in any of its forms. 
It was simply of a local, and, so far, of an experimental character. 
(See 1836). 

By 5 George IV, cap. 50 — " An Act for amending an Act passed in 
the 53rd year of the reign of His late Majesty King George III, 
intituled an Act [already cited in full] — the allowance made to 
bakers under the Act of 1813 was to be reduced in manner herein 
mentioned." Then the following : 

" II. And be it further enacted, that neither this Act nor anything 
herein contained shall extend or be construed to extend to prejudice 
the ancient right or custom of ttie too universities of Oxford or 

the World : Past and Present. 




f 38 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food—Contd. 

Cambridge, or either of them, or of their or either of their clerks of 
the market, or the practice within the several jurisdictions of the 
said universities, or either of them, used to set, ascertain and appoint 
the size and weight of all sorts of bread to be sold or exposed to sale 
within their several jurisdictions ; but that they and every one of 
them shall and may severally and respectively from time to time, as 
there shall be occasion, set, ascertain and appoint, within their 
several and respective jurisdictions, the assise and weight of all sorts 
of bread to be sold or exposed to sale by any baker or other person 
whatsoever within the limits of their several jurisdictions : and shall 
and may inquire into and punish any broach thereof fully and freely 
in all respects as they used to do, and as if this Act had never been 
made ; anything herein contained to the contrary thereof notwith- 
There was enacted 6 and 7 William IV, cap. 37 — " An Act to repeal 
the several Acts now in force relating to Bread to be sold out of the 
city of London and the liberties thereof, and beyond the weekly 
bills of mortality and io miles of the Royal Exchange ; and to pro- 
vide other regulations for the making and sale of Bread, and for 
preventing the adulteration of Meal, Flour, and Bread beyond the 
limits aforesaid." This is therefore the first modern measure of 
general application to the country ; and it recites {inter alia) : 

"And whereas it is deemed expedient that the several Acts of 
parliament now in force relating to the making and selling of bread, 
or to the assise and price thereof, or to the adulteration of meal, 
flour, or bread, beyond the limits aforesaid, should be altogether 
repealed, and that in lieu thereof the regulations, provisions, and 
penalties hereinafter contained, and which are similar to those con- 
tained in the said recited Act [3 G-eorge IV, cap. cvi, 1822], should 
be substituted. But inasmuch as the purposes aforesaid cannot be 
effected without the aid and authority of parliament. Be it, &c." 

It is then enacted that it should and might be lawful for the 
several makers and sellers of bread outside the limits of the city [as 
those inside the city had been authorised by the recited Act] to make 
and sell bread made of flour or meal of wheat, barley, rye, oats, 
buckwheat, Indian corn, peas, beans, rice or potatoes, or any of them, 
and with any common salt, pure water, eggs, milk, barm, leaven, 
potatoes, or other yeast, ancfrinixed in such proportions as they should 
think fit, and with no other ingredient or matter whatsoever, subject 
to the regulations in this Act contained. And the bread might be 
made of any weight or size ; but was to be sold by weight only, except 
as to certain fancy bread and rolls. There were heavy penalties for 
adulteration ; and bakehouses might be searched. 
By 1 and 2 Victoria, cap. 28 — " An Act to repeal the several Acts now 
in force relating to Bread to be sold in Ireland, and to provide other 
regulations for the making and sale of Bread, and for preventing the 
adulteration of Meal, Flour, and Bread in that part of the United 
Kingdom called Ireland " — it is recited : 

" And whereas it is deemed expedient that the several Acts now in 
force relating to the making and selling of bread, or to the assise and 
price thereof, or to the adulteration of meal, flour, or bread, in that 
part of the United Kingdom called Ireland^ should be altogether 
repealed, and that in lieu thereof the regulations, provisions, and 
penalties, hereinafter contained, and which are similar to those 
contained in the said recited Act [of 1836] should be substituted." 

The clauses following conform to those of 1836 ; so that the whole 
of the United Kingdom was now brought under a uniform law in 
these matters, for the first time. 

Note— The only Acts relating to bread (pfc\\es fllcxaja. ^tafc %fc»toota> 
upon adulteration) are those of 1824 and. \$&Q. 

160 Walford— On the Famines of 

Table IX. — Restrictions on the Price of Food — Contd. 


1846 .... At length came the time and the man. The food of the people was 
no longer to be made the pretext for " unnatural legislation." Sir 
Robert Peel swept away the whole fabric of failures which his pre- 
decessors had built up, and which we have here passed in review ; 
and the policy of " free trade " in the essential portion of the food of 
the people was for once, and, so far as the United Kingdom is con- 
cerned, for ever proclaimed ! 

In the preceding table, under date 1336, I have quoted a law of 
Edward III, that none should be served with more than two courses 
at any meal. This was a period of scarcity ; but it was also the 
period of sumptuary laws. There were other laws in the same 
direction. See 1363, 1562, and 1593. There is a remarkable 
incident associated with the scarcity which prevailed at the com- 
mencement of the present century. In 1800 the inhabitants of 
Westminster., or many of them, entered into a compact known as 
" The Engagement," of which the following is an exact transcript : — 

" We, the inhabitants, householders of the parish of St. Anne's, within the 
Liberty of Westminster, being earnestly desirous of giving the most steady effect 
to his majesty's late proclamation, and of affording all possible relief, under the 
present pressure, do sincerely engage, and solemnly bind ourselves, that we will 
practise the greatest economy and frugality in the use of every species of grain ; 
that we will use our utmost endeavours to reduce the consumption of bread in our 
respective families, by at least one-third of the quantity consumed in ordinary 
times ; and that we will in no case suffer the same to exceed one quartern loaf 
for each person per week ; and that we will abstain from the use of flour in 
pastry, and moreover restrict the use of it, in all other articles than bread. And 
further, that such of us as keep horses, and especially horses for pleasure, will, 
as far as our respective circumstances will admit, carefully restrict the consumption 
of oats, and of other grain, for the subsistence of the same. And we further 
solemnly pledge ourselves, that we will use the strictest economy in every other 
article of food, and take the greatest possible care, that neither a profusion be 
allowed, nor a waste committed in our respective households. 

'• To which solemn engagement, not less important to us individually than to 
the general welfare of the country, we have affixed our hands, this 17th day of 
December, 1800." 

Nor was this all ; another step remained to make the movement 
complete, and this was to try and reach and teach the household 
domestics, a by no means easy task at any time. This was 
attempted to be accomplished as follows : — 


And as it is equally the duty and interest of servants, as of their employers, 
that this engagement should be carried into entire effect, it is expected that all 
servants will readily, and with a hearty good will, unite with their respective 
families in this necessary measure ; should, however, the contrary in any instance 

" It is resolved, that any servant, refusing to concur in the object of this 
engagement, and in consequence, quitting a place, or being discharged, shall not 
be received by us into our homes, nor, as we have reason to believe, will they be 
received by any of our friends." 

Further resolutions were passed for assisting the poor in the 
present emergency. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table X. — (External Regulations.) Legislative Restrictions and other 
Provisions on the Export or Import of Grain from or into the United 
Kingdom or Parts thereof 









By 17 Edward IT, cap. 3 — "Ordinance made for the state of the 
land of Ireland " — it is enacted as follows : — 

" Moreover that our said justices, nor any of our other ministers, 
hy colour of their office, shall arrest ships, nor other goods of 
strangers of our own people ; hut that all merchants and others may 
carry their corn, and other victuals and merchandises forth of our 
realm of Ireland unto our realm of England, and unto our land of 
Wales (except in the cases after-mentioned) , paying the customs due 
and used ; so that they make good security that they shall not go 
unto, nor commerce with our enemies of Scotland, nor other of our 
enemies, if any shall be. And if any justice or other officer do the 
contrary in the things aforesaid, and be therefore attainted, he shall 
satisfy the plaintiffs double damages, and shall also be grievously 
punished on our behalf." 

By 3 Edward III, the importation of wheat, rye or barley into this 
realm [England"] was prohibited, unless the price of wheat exceed 
6s. Sd. the quarter ; rye 4s. ; barley 3*., at that port or place where 
the same should be brought in, "upon paine of forfeiture thereof." 

By 34 Edward III, cap. 20, no corn was to be transported [exported 
from England] but to Calais and Qascoign. 

By 17 Richard II, cap. 7, it is enacted as follows : — 

"Item. The king, at the request of the commons to him made in this 
present parliament, hath granted license to all his liege people of his 
realm of England, to ship and carry corn out of the said realm, to 
what parts that please them, except to his enemies, paying the sub- 
sidies and duties thereof due ; notwithstanding any ordaining, 
proclamation, or any defence made before this time to the contrary ; 
nevertheless he will that his council may restrain the said passage 
when they should think best for the profit of the realm." 

This last named statute was confirmed by 4 Henry VI, cap. 5. 

By 15 Henry VI, cap. 2, it was enacted, " corn being at small price, 
viz., wheat at 6s. Sd. and barley at 3*. the quarter, may be carried 
forth of the realm without licence" the following reasons being 
given : — 

" Item. Forasmuch as by the law it was ordained that no man might 
carry nor bring corn out of the realm of England without the king's 
license, for cause whereof farmers and other men who use manure- 
ment of their land, may not sell their corn but of a low price, to the 
great damage of all the realm : our said sovereign lord the king, 
willing in this case to provide remedy, hath ordained by authority 
aforesaid, that it shall be lawful to every person to carry and bring 
corn out of England, and the same to sell to whatsoever person that 
he will, except all only to the king's enemies, as often and as long as 
a quarter of wheat or barley is so shipped ; and that without suing 
any license for the same : all other statutes before this time thereof 
made to the contrary notwithstanding. Provided always that the 
king be contented of his customs and money. And this ordinance 
shall endure till the next parliament." 

The last-named Act was confirmed by 20th of same reign (1441). 

The Act of 1436 made perpetual by 23 Henry VI, cap. 5. 

By 3 Edward IV, cap. 2, it was enacted : — 

" Whereas the labourers and occupiers of husbandry within this realm 
be daily grievously endangered by bringing in of corn out of other lands 
and parts into thi&Vrealm, when corn of the growing of tl is realm is 
at a low price: our said sovereign lord the king considering the 
premises, by the advice, assent, and authority aforesaid hath ordawvwL 
I and established, that no person from && £ea»V» oi ^to. 3<ta&. *&& 'fca^Mfc 


.Walford— 0» the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 






M •••• 

next coming shall bring or convey into any place or port of this 
realm, by way of merchandise or otherwise, any wheat, rye, or barley, 
which is not of the growing of this land, or of any isle pertaining to 
the same, or of the growing of Ireland or Wales, at any tune that the 
quarter of wheat doth not exceed the price of 6*. &d., the quarter of 
rye 4*., and the quarter of barley 3*. of lawful money of England, 
within the place or port where such wheat, rye, or barley shall 
happen to be brought ; upon pain of forfeiture of the said wheat, rye 
and barley, the one-half to our said sovereign lord the king, and the 
other half to him which shall happen to seize any such wheat, rye or 
barley : provided always that this act extend not to any wheat, rye 
or barley taken by any of the king's liege people upon the sea without 
fraud or covin." 

By 4 Edward 1Y, cap. 5, the importation of any merchandises except 
provisions from the countries of the Duke of Burgundy (which then 
extended over Burgundy, Lotrike [? Utrecht], Brabant, Luneburgh, 
Flanders, Artois, Henault, Holland, Zealand, Nassau, the markship 
of the Holy Empire, Friesland, M eyries, &c.), was prohibited. 

An Act of the parliament of Ireland, 12 Edward IV, cap. 3 — " An 
Act that no grain be laden out of the realm, unless the same be at a 
certain price " — was as follows : — 

" Item — At the request of the commons, for that there is so 
great lack of money in this land, and also the grain are enhanced to 
a great price because of great lading from day to day used and 
continued within this realme ; by the which great dearth is like to be 
of graineS) without some remedy be ordeyned in the said parliament. 
Whereupon the premises considered, it is ordeyned, enacted, and 
established, by the authority of the said parliament, that no person 
or persons lade no (sic) grain out of the said land to no other parts 
without, if one peck of the said grains exceed the price of ten pence, 
upon pain of forfeiture of the said grain or the value thereof. And 
also the owner of the ship within the which the said graines are 
laden shall forfeit the said ship (that is to say), the one moyety to 
the party that seize or take the said grains on ship." 

In the 25 Henry VIII, cap. 2 — "Proclamations for the prices of 
victuals, viz., the prizing of them, and proclaiming the prices " — 
quoted in some detail in Table X, there is contained the following : — 
" IV. And be it further enacted, that no person or persons, unless 
it be by license under the king's great seal, from henceforth shall 
carry or convey, or cause to be carried and conveyed, any corn, beefs, 
muttons, veals, porks, or any other of the above said victuals, to any 
the parties [? parts] beyond the sea, except only for victualling of 
the towns of Callis, Quisnes, H amines, and the marches of the same, 
and except for victualling of masters, mariners, and merchants of 
ships passing the seas ; and also except barrelled butter and meal to 
be carried to the parties of Ireland, as hath been accustomed ; 
upon the pain of forfeiting of the value of the thing conveyed and 
carried into the parties of beyond the sea contrary to this Act, the 
one-half thereof to the use of our sovereign lord the king, and the 
other half to the party who will sue for the same," &c. 

By 1 and 2 Philip and Mary, cap. 5, " An Act to restrain carrying of 
Corn, Victuals, and Wood over the Seas** it is recited : — 

" Whereas sundry good estatutesand laws have been made within this 
realm, in the time of the Queen's Highness most noble progenitors, 
that none should transport, carry or convey out of this realm into any 
place in the parts beyond the seas any corn, butter, cheese or other 
victual (except only for the victualling of the towns of Calice, Hames 
ami Ouisnes, and the marches of the same) upon divers great pains 
a 13 1 1 forfeitures in the same contained. That notwithstanding, many 

and sundry covetous and unaatiable persons, seeking their own lucres 

the World : Past and Present 



Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 






and gains, have, and daily do carry and convey, innumerable quantity 
as well of corn, cheese, butter and other victual, as of wood out of 
this realm into the parts beyond the seas, by reason whereof the said 
corn, victual and wood are grown into a wonderful dearth and extreme 
prices, to the great detriment of the common wealth of this your 
highness realm, and your faithful subjects of the same." 

In future no such exports to be made without license, except when 
prices should not exceed the following : wheat, 6s. %d. per quarter ; 
rye, 4*. ; barley, 3*. ; then it should " be lawful to every person and 
persons to carry and transport over the sea to any place beyond the 
seas at their pleasure, any of the said kinds of corn, so that it be not 
to the king and queen's enemies." 

By 1 Elizabeth, cap. 11 — " An Acte lymiting the tymes for layeing on 
Lande Marchandise from beyonde the Seas, and touching C us tome 8 
for Sweete Wynes " — it was provided - 

" XI. . . . That it shall be lawful to ship, lade and transport 
into the parts beyond the sea, all manner of corn and grain out of 
the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and either of them, at such 
places as heretofore hath been accustomed, and between the hours in 
this Act appointed [in the daylight and in an open place], when the 
same corn and grain shall not exceed the several prices mentioned in 
this statute, 5 and 6 Edward VI [1552, Table No. XII], entituled 'An 
Act against regrators, &c./ the customs and subsidies therefore due 
be well and truly paid ; anything in this Act or any other Act to the 
contrary notwithstanding. Provided that nothing herein was to be 
' prejudicial or hurtful to the isle of Anglesea, the shires of Carnarvon 
and Flint in North Wales; but that the inhabitants thereof, and 
every of them, may receive, lade, and discharge, according to their 
old ancient uses, customs, or liberties granted to them, or any of 
their predecessors, by the late king, of famous memory, king 
Henry the VIII, or any other her progenitors. So that they and 
every of them pay the customs and subsidies that shall be due, and 
discharge and load within the times and hours before-mentioned.' " 

By 5 Elizabeth, cap. 5 — '' An Acte towching certayne Politique Con- 
stitutions made for the maintenance of the Navye " — sec. 17, it is 
enacted that corn might be exported by British subjects in English 
ships at certain ports, when not exceeding the following prices, viz., 
wheat 10*., rye, pease, and beans, 8*., and barley or malt 6s. Sd. per 
quarter ; and then — 

" XXVI. And be it further enacted by the authority of this 
present parliament, that from and after the Feast of St. Michael the 
Archangel next coming, it shall be lawful to all and every person 
and persons, being subjects to the queen's majesty, her heirs and 
successors, only out of such ports and creeks as by the queen's 
majesty's proclamation hereafter shall be published and appointed, 
and not elsewhere, to load, carry, or transport any wheat, barley, 
malt, peas, or beans into any parts beyond the seas to sell as mer- 
chandise in ships, crayers, or other vessels, whereof any English born 
subjects then shall be the only owners, so that the price of the said 
corn or grain so carried or transported exceed not the prices hereafter 
following, at the times, havens and places, where and when the same 
corn or grain shall be shipped and laden, viz., the quarter of wheat 
at 1 o*. ; the quarter of rye, peas, or beans, at 8*. ; the quarter of 
barley or malt at 6s. Sd. of current money of England; any law, 
usage, or statute made to the contrary hereof in anywise notwith- 

By 13 Elizabeth, cap. 13—" An Acte for the Encrease of Tyllage," 
&c. — it is enacted that corn might be exported to friendly countries 
by British subjects, from certain ports, in certain ships, at all times 
when proclamation was not made to the contarj , <ya. \}*\fc \sr\sfc *A. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 






corn being ascertained yearly in the several countries. A duty of i id. 
per quarter imposed on all corn exported. The queen might prohibit 
the exportation of corn by proclamation at all times. 
By 35 Elizabeth, cap. 7 — "An Acte for continuing of diverse Statutes " 
— it is enacted by section 17 that the export of corn may be 
prohibited either generally throughout the whole realme, or in any 
of the counties individually, having sea-ports j and further — * 

" XXIII. Provided always . . . That when the price of corn 
or grain exceedeth not the rates hereafter following, at the times and 
havens, and places where and when the same corn and grain shall be 
shipped or loaden, viz., the quarter of wheat at 20*. ; the quarter of 
rye, pease, and beans at 1 3*. \d. ; the quarter of barley or malt at 
12s. of current English money ; that then it shall be lawful for all 
and every person or persons being subjects of her majesty, her heirs 
or successors, to load, carry, or transport any of the said corn or 
grain in such manner and form as in the said Act made for the main- 
tenance of the navy is limited and appointed. ..." 

The queen was to receive for custom and poundage for every 
quarter of wheat so exported 2*., and of other grain is. qd., in full 
By 1 James I, cap. 25 — "An Acte for continuynge and revivinge of 
divers Statutes, and for repealinge of some others " — the following 
regulations came into force — 

" XXVI. Provided also, and be it further enacted by the authority 
of this present parliament, that when the prices of corns or grains, 
exceeding not the rates hereinafter following, at the times, havens, 
and places where or when the same corn or grain shall be shipped or 
loaded, viz., the quarter of wheat 26 *. %d. ; the quarter of rye, pease, 
and beans at 1 5*. ; the quarter of barley or malt at 1 4*. of current 
English money j that then it shall be lawful for every person and 
persons being subjects of the king's majesty, his heirs or successors, 
to transport of his own, and to buy and transport any of his said 
corns and grains into any parts beyond the seas in amity with his 
majesty to sell as merchandise in ships, crayers, or other vessels 
whereof any English born subject or subjects shall then be the owner 
or owners, any law, usage, or statute to the contrary hereof notwith- 

The custom or poundage to the Crown being 2*. per quarter for 
wheat, and 1*. 6d. for the other grain enumerated. 

The king might by proclamation prohibit the exportation of grain 
either from the whole or any part of the kingdom. 
By 21 James I, cap. 28 — " An Act for contynewing and reviving of 
divers statutes, and repeal of dyvers others," — it was enacted — 

" III. Provided also . . . that when the prices of corn or grain 
exceed not the rates hereinafter following, at the times, havens, and 
places when and where the same corn or grain shall be brought, shipped, 
or landed, viz., the quarter of wheat at 32*., the quarter of rye at 20*., 
the quarter of pease and beans at 16*., the quarter of barley or malt 
at 16.?. of current English money, that then it shall and may be 
lawful for all and every person or persons being subjects of the king's 
majesty ... to carry and transport of his own, and to buy to 
sell again in markets and out of markets, and to keep or sell, or 
carry and transport any of the said corn and grain from the places 
where they shall be of such prices into any parts beyond the seas in 
amity with his majesty, as merchandise in ships, crays, or other 
vessels whereof any English born subject or subjects then shall be 
the owner or owners ; or the same to carry, and sell in other parts 
within this realm or dominions thereof, any law, usage, or statute to 
the contrary notwithstanding." 

The lung's custom or poundage to be 2«. per quarter for wheat, and 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain —Contd. 





i*. ^d. for other grain. The king might by proclamation restrain 
transportation of grain. 

By this Act there was repealed a considerable number of the pre- 
ceding Acts named in this table. 

The Act of 1623 was confirmed by 3 Car. I, cap. 4 (5), section 24. 

By 12 Car. II, cap. 4 — "A subsidy granted to the king of tonnage and 
poundage, and other sums of money payable on merchandise 
exported and imported " — it was enacted : — 

" XI. It shall and may be lawful, immediately after the passing of 
this Act, for any person or persons to ship, carry out, and transport, 
by way of merchandise, these several sorts of goods following, that is 
to say . . . and wheat, rye, pease, beans, barley, malt, and oats, 
beef, pork, bacon, butter, cheese, candles, when the same do not 
exceed in price at the ports from whence they are laden, and at the 
time of their lading, these prices following, that is to say, wheat, 
the quarter, 40*. ; rye, beans, and pease, the quarter, 24*. ; barley 
and malt, the quarter, 20*. ; oats, the quarter, 16 jr. ; beef, the barrel, 
5Z. ; pork, the barrel, 61. 10s. ; bacon, the pound, 6d. ; butter, the 
barrel, 4Z. 10*. ; cheese, the hundred, il. 10*.; candles, the dozen 
pounds, 5*., paying the respective rates appointed by this Act and no 
more, any former law, statute, prohibition, or custom notwithstand- 
ing. As a specimen of the scale of duties — Exports, beef, the 
barrel, 3Z. : Imports, beef, the barrel, iZ." 

By 15 Car. II, cap. 7 — u An Act for the encouragement of Trade " — 
it is recited : — 

" Forasmuch as the encouragement of tillage ought to be in an 
especial manner regarded and endeavoured ; and the surest and 
effectual means of promoting and advancing any trade, occupation 
or mystery, being by rendering it profitable to the users thereof ; 
(2) and great quantities of land within this kingdom for the present 
lying in a manner waste, and yielding little, which might thereby be 
improved to considerable profit and advantage (if sufficient encourage- 
ment were given for the laying out cost and labour on the same) , and 
thereby much more corn produced, great numbers of people, horses 
and cattle employed, and other lands also rendered more valuable." 

And it is then enacted that when the price of wheat did not exceed 
at the place from which it was to be exported 48*. per quarter 
Winchester measure, barley or malt 28*., buckwheat 28*., oats 13*. ^.d., 
rye 32*., peas or beans 32*. of English money, then the same might 
be exported to places beyond the seas. And when the prices did not 
exceed those named at the place of import, there might be imported 
wheat upon paying a customs duty of 5*. \d., rye 4*., barley or malt 
28. Sd., buckwheat is., oats 1*. \d., and peas or beans 4*. 

And it was further enacted, that when the prices of corn or grain, 
Winchester measure, did not exceed the rates above stated at the 
markets, havens, or places where the same should be bought, that 
then it should "be lawful for all and every person and persons 
(not forestalling nor selling the same in the same market within three 
months after the buying thereof) to buy in open market, and to lay 
up and keep in his or their granaries or houses, and to sell again, 
such corn or grain of the kinds aforesaid as without fraud or covin 
shall have been bought at or under the price before expressed, with- 
out incurring any penalty ; any law, statute or usage to the contrary 
not withstanding. ' ' 

By this Act it is recited : — 

" XIII. Whereas a great part of the richest and best land of this 
kingdom is and cannot so well be otherwise employed and made use 
of as in the feeding and fattening of cattle, and that of the coming in 
of late of vast numbers of cattle already fatted, such land& «k* \sv 
many places much fallen, and likely daifry to Ml mot* \&.>&sv£ tc<&& 


"Walford— On the Famines of 




Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Conid. 

and values, and in consequence other lands also, to the great pre- 
judice, detriment, and impoverishment of this kingdom." 

" And it is thus enacted, That for every head of great cattle (except 
such as are of the breed of Scotland) that shall be imported and 
brought into England, Wales, or the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed 
after the 1st day of July and before the 20th day of December in 
any year ; and for every head of great cattle of the breed of Scotland 
that shall be imported or brought into England, Wales, or the town 
of Berwick after the 24th August and before the 20th December in 
any year, there shall be paid to his majesty, his heirs and successors, 
the sum of 20s., and the sum of 10*. to him or them that shall 
inform and seize the same." 

For every sheep so imported there was to be paid the sum of 10*. 
The Act, so far as it related to cattle and sheep, was not to come into 
force before the 1st July, 1664, nor to continue longer than the end 
of the first session of the next parliament. (See 1665). 

Section 18 of this Act is as follows : — " Provided also and be it 
enacted that it shall and may be lawful to import catle of the breed 
of the Isle of Man not exceeding 600 in any one year. And come of 
the growth of that island out of that island into England, soe as the 
said catle be landed at Chester, Liverpoole, or Wirewater, anything 
in this Act to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding." 

Adam Smith observed of this measure, that with all its imper- 
fections, it had done more to promote plenty than any other law in 
the statute book. 
By 18 Car. II, cap. 2 — " An Act against importing Cattle from 
Ireland and other parts beyond the Seas, and Fish taken by 
Foreigners " — after reciting the Act of 1663 (sec. 13) it is enacted— 
" That such importation from and after the 2nd February in the pre- 
sent year 1666, is a public and a common nuisance, and shall be so 
adjudged, deemed, and taken to be to all intents and purposes whatso- 
ever;" and further: — 

" That if any great cattle, sheep, or swine, or any beef, pork, or 
bacon (except for the necessary provision of the respective ships or 
vessels in which the same shall be brought, not exposing the same or 
any part thereof to sale) shall from and after the said 2nd February, 
by any wise whatever be imported or brought from beyond seas into 
this kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick- 
upon- Tweed, that then it shall and may be lawful for any constable, 
tithing man, head borough, churchwardens, or overseers of the port, 
or any of them, within the respective liberties, parishes, or places, to 
take and seize the same, and keep the same during the space of forty- 
eight hours in some publick or convenient place where such seizure 
shall be made, within which time if the owner or owners, or any for 
them or him, shall make it appear unto some justice of the peace of 
the same county where the same shall be so seized, by the oaths of two 
credible witnesses, that the same were not imported from Ireland, or 
from any other place beyond the seas not hereinafter excepted, after 
this said 2nd day of February, then the same upon the warrant of such 
justice of the peace shall be delivered without delay ; but in default 
of such proof and warrant, then the same to be forfeited : one-half 
thereof to be disposed to the use of the poor of the parish where the 
same shall be so found or seized ; the other half to be to his own use 
that shall so seize the same. 

" And for the better encouragement of the Fishery of this kingdom, 
be it further enacted by this authority aforesaid, that if any ling, 
herring, cod, or pilchard, fresh or salted, dried or bloated, or any 
salmons, eels, or congers, tak^n by any foreigner, aliens to this 
kingdom, shall be imported, uttered, sold or exposed for sale in this 
/ kingdom, that then it snaAl and may be lawful for any person or 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 






persons to take and seize the same ; the one-half thereof to he dis- 
posed of to the use of the poor of the parish, &c. [as before]. 

" Provided always, that nothing in this Act shall be construed to 
hinder the importation of cattle from the Isle of Man in this 
kingdom of England, so as the number of the said cattle do not 
exceed 6oo head yearly ; and that they be not of any other breed 
than of the breed of the Isle of Man ; and that they be loaded at the 
port of Chester, or some of the members thereof, and not elsewhere." 

This Act was to continue until the end of seven years. It was 
made perpetual by 32 Car. II, cap. 2, sec. 2 (1680) . 
The 20 Car. II, cap. 7, "An additional Act against the importation 
of Foreign Cattle," all officers who had seized any cattle, sheep, 
swine, beef, pork, or bacon, were saved harmless ; while those who 
neglected to seize were made liable to a penalty of lool. 
By 22 Car. II., cap 13 — " An Act for the Improvement of Tillage and 
the Breed of Cattle " — It was enacted that it should be lawful after 
the 24th June of this year for all and every person or persons, native 
or foreigner, at any time or times, to ship, lade, carry, and transport 
as merchandize all sorts of corn and grain, " although the prices 
thereof shall exceed the rates set down " in the Act of 1663, paying 
for the same the rates stated in the subsidy of 1660. But when the 
rates did not exceed those following, then there should be paid 
the custom and poundage following, viz., for wheat when the same 
shall not exceed the price of 53*. 4^. per quarter, 16*. ; and when 
the price of wheat exceeded the price last named, but did not exceed 
80*., the sum of 8*. ; for every quarter of rye when the price did not 
exceed 405., 1 6s. ; for barley or malt when it did not exceed 
32*., 16s. ; for buckwheat the same; for oats not exceeding 16*. per 
quarter, 5*. 4^. ; for peas and beans not exceeding 405. per quarter, 
165. ; each quarter to contain 8 bushels, and each bushel 8 gallons 
and no more. 

This* Act also contained the following : — 

" III. And for the further encouragement of French or pearl 
barley in this kingdom, there shall be paid for the custom of every 
cwt. . . . the sum of 5*. 

" IV. And for the further encouragement of breeding and feeding 
of cattle of all sorts, be it enacted that from the 24th June which 
shall be in the year of our Lord Q-od 1670, and from thenceforward, 
it shall be lawful for every person or persons, native or foreigner, at 
any time or times, to ship, lode, and transport [export] by way of 
merchandise these sorts of goods following, that is to say, beef, 
pork, bacon, butter, cheese, and candles, though the same do 
exceed in price at the ports from which they are laJen, and at the 
time of their lading, the prices set down and limited in the aforesaid 
[1660] ... or any other law, statute, usage, or other prohibition 
to the contrary thereof in anywise notwithstanding ; paying for the 
same the respective rates effected by the said Act, and no more," 
with certain enumerated exceptions. It was also made lawful to 
export cows and heifers, swine or hogs, horses and mare9. 
Further provisions hereto were made by 3 William and Mary, cap. 8. 
The 31 Car. II, cap. 2 — " An Act prohibiting the importation of cuttle 
from Ireland" — while making the Act of 1665 perpetual, "foras- 
much as, by long experience, the said law hath been found to be 
very beneficial to this kingdom," contains further enactments in the 
same direction. 

" VIII. And whereas the present laws do not sufficiently provide 
against the importation of mutton and lamb out of Ireland and 
other parts beyond the seas into this kingdom, but that great quanti- 
ties thereof are daily imported and sold, to the great loss and. 
prejudice of this kingdom. Be it tlaereioY© euafitedi, \>ck»X> ^cova. wA. 


Walpord — On the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 





after the said 2nd February, no mutton or lamb shall be imported into 
this kingdom from the kingdom of Ireland or any foreign parts ; and 
all mutton and lamb imported from Ireland, or beyond the seas, or 
that shall be exposed to sale within this kingdom, shall be subject to 
the like seizure, and the importers and sellers thereof respectively in 
the like penalties, as are provided and appointed by any former law 
against any importer or seller, or importation of any beef, pork, or 
bacon, from the kingdom of Ireland or any foreign parts. 

" IX. And whereas the present laws do not sufficiently provide 
against this importation of butter and cheese out of Ireland into 
this kingdom, but that great quantities thereof are daily imported 
and sold to the great loss and prejudice of this kingdom ; be it 
therefore enacted, that from and after the said 2nd February 
no butter or cheese shall be imported into this kingdom from the 
kingdom of Ireland; and all butter and cheese imported from 
Ireland, or that shall be exposed to sale within this kingdom, shall 
be subject to the like seizures ; and the importers and sellers thereof 
respectively to the like penalties, as are provided in any former law 
against any importer or seller, or importation of any beef, bacon, or 
pork from the kingdom of Ireland." 

As to cattle, it was further provided that the seizure might be 
made in any parish to which the same might be removed. 
By 1 James II, cap. 19 — " An Additional Act for the Improvement of 
Tillage" — the Act of 22 Car. II, " of ever blessed memory," cap. 13 
(1670), is recited, but inasmuch as no provision was made by the said 
Act for ascertaining and determining the prices therein set forth, 
" by reason whereof several great quantities of foreign corn and grain 
have been imported without paying the respective duties by the said 
Act appointed, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the said 
Act," it was now determined that justices of the peace upon the 
coast have power, '* upon the oaths of two or more honest and sub- 
stantial persons of the respective counties, being neither merchants 
nor factors for the importing of corn, nor anyways concerned nor 
interested in the corn so imported, and each of them having a free- 
hold estate of zol. per annum or a leasehold estate of 50Z. per annum 
above all charges and reprizes, and being skilful in the price of corn," 
&c., to determine the prices for the purposes of the said recited 
There were two enactments this year, the first embodying quite a new 
feature, that of bounties on export. 

1. The 1 William and Mary, statute 1, cap. 12 — " An Act for the en- 
couraging the exportation of Corn " — wherein it is recited : " Foras- 
much as it hath been found by experience, that the exportation of corn 
and grain into foreign parts, when the price thereof is at a low rate in 
this kingdom, hath been a great advantage, not only to the owners of 
land, but to the trade of this kingdom in general," &c. It was 
therefore enacted that when malt or barley, " Winchester measure," 
should be at or under 24*. per quarter, rye at or under 32*., and 
wheat at or under 48*. per quarter, the masters and crews of British 
ships exporting the same should receive a bounty on a scale set forth 
in the said Act. Precautions taken not to allow such grain to be 
reshipped into Q-reat Britain. 

2. 1 William and Mary, cap. 24. — An excise Act — contained the 
following : — 

" XVIII. And be it enacted, that when malt or barley of English 
growth, Winchester measure, shall be at 24*. by the quarter, or 
under, rye, of English growth, at 32*. by the quarter, or under, and 
wheat, of English growth, at 48.?. by the quarter, or under, in the 
town or port of B er rick-up on- Tweed ; every merchant or other 
person who shall put on shipboard in English shipping, the master 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 








and two-thirds of his mariners at least being their Majesties* subjects, 
any sorts of the corn aforesaid, from the said port or town of 
Berwick, with intent to export the said corn into parts beyond the 
seas, and shall pursue all and every the methods and things pre- 
scribed and appointed in that behalf, in and by the said Act made in 
this present session of Parliament, intituled * An Act for encouraging 
the exportation of Corn,' shall have the benefit and advantage of the 
said Act, and of everything therein contained, as fully to all intents 
and purposes as if the said corn had been put on shipboard from 
any port or ports of this kingdom or dominion of Wales. 

"XIX. Provided always, and be it enacted, that if any merchant 
or other person whatever shall put on shipboard any corn of the 
growth of Scotland, out of the said port of Berwick-upon-Tweed, 
that all such corn shall be forfeited (that is to say), one-third part to 
their Majesties, one- third part to the informer, and the other third 
part to the poor of the said town of Berwick." 
By 8 and 9 William III, cap. 22, a duty of 6d. per bushel was laid 

upon malt. 
Grain a ad other articles of food were afterwards the subjects of fiscal 
burdens by indirect enactments wherein they are nowhere specifically 
named. Thus, in the 9 and 10 William III, cap. 23 — " An Act for 
granting to his majesty a further subsidy of tonnage and poundage 
towards raising the yearly sum of 700,000^. for the service of His 
Majesty's Household, and other uses therein mentioned, during His 
Majesty's life " — a duty of nd. in the £ on the value of all goods and 
merchandises imported was imposed. This was held to apply to 
grain, and accordingly raised the duty then payable thereon. 
By 10 William III, cap. 3 — "An Act to prohibit the Exportation of 
any Corn, Malt, Meale, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, or Starch for one yeare 
from the 10th February, 1698 " — it is recited that the price of corn in 
the kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, and town of Berwick- 
upon-Tweed was at this time excessive ; and that in several other 
parts of Europe it was " scarcer and dearer that in England ; " hence 
no corn, &c., was to be exported except under the provisions of 
this Act. The commissioners of customs might seize all vessels 
unduly laden with corn for exportation, even to Scotland, and take 
the same to the king's warehouse. But corn might be exported for 
sustenance of crews and passengers of ships, and for British ports 
and colonies, and for the benefit of English fisheries, and malt to the 
Channel Islands, also carried coastwise, and on navigable rivers. And 
on decrease of price the king might by proclamation permit exporta- 
tion before expiry of this Act. 
By 11 William III, cap. 1 — " An Act for taking away the Bounty 
Money for exporting Corn from the 9th February, 1699, to the 
29th September, 1700 " — the purposes for which the said bounties had 
been instituted are recited, and then : " But forasmuch as it appears 
that the present stock and quantity of corn in this kingdom may not 
be sufficient for the use and service of the people at home, should 
there be too great an exportation into parts beyond the seas, which 
many persons may be prompted to doe for their own private 
advantage and the lucre of the said bounty or allowance-money," it 
was suspended accordingly for one year. 

1. By 11 and 12 William III, cap. 20 — "An Act for taking away the 
Duties upon the Woollen Manufactures, Corn, Grain, Bread, Biscuit 
and Meal Exported "—it was enacted : — 

" IV. And for the greater encouragement of tillage, be it further 
enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after the 30th day of 
March, 1700, the subsidy and all other duties whatsoever payable for 
or upon the exportation of wheat, rye, barley, malt, beans, peas, and 
other sorts of corn and grain whatsoever, ground or unground, and 


Walford — On the Famines of 








Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Chain— -Contd. 

for and upon the exportation of bread, biscuit, and meal, or any of 
them, out of or from the kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, 
or town of Berwick-on-Tweed, as to so much of the said commodities, 
or any of them, as shall be so exported after the said 30th day of 
March, shall cease, determine and be no longer doe or payable to 
His Majesty his heirs and successors, any law, statute, usage, or pre- 
scription to the contrary notwithstanding. 

2. By 12 and 13 William III, cap. 10— An Act of supply— there is 
provision made as to the payment of the bounties under the Act of 

By 2 and 3 Anne, cap. 9 — " An Act for granting to Her Majesty an 
additional subsidy of tonnage and poundage for three years/' &c. — 
the increase of duty on all grain and other merchandise imported was 
increased by one-third. 

By the 9th Act of the parliament of Scotland, holden by Queen Anne 
this year, intituled, "An Act discharging importation of Irian 
Victual, Beef and Cattle," the importation of yictnal from Ireland or 
any other places beyond the seas into Scotland was restrained and 
prohibited, under several penalties contained in the said Act, and in 
other Acts of the Parliament of Scotland therein referred to. But 
with this proviso, that when, by reason of dearth, the prices of 
victual should exceed the rates specified in the said Act, the Lords of 
Her Majesty's Privy Council of Scotland should have power, after 
due trial by them taken of the prices of victual, to suspend and 
discharge the execution of the said prohibitory Acts for such space 
of time as the exigencies of the said dearth should require. 

By 3 and 4 Anne, cap. 5 — " An Act for granting to Her Majesty a 
further subsidy on wines and merchandises imported " — an additional 
poundage equal to two-thirds of that imposed by 9 William IU, 
cap. 23, was imposed. The effect of this and the previous as also of 
later Acts of the same character upon the duty leviable upon imported 
wheat, will be shown in a table given by way of supplement to the 
present table. 

In the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, made this 
year, it was provided by Article VI, that the prohibition as then in 
force by the law of Scotland against the importation of victual from 
Ireland, or any other place beyond the seas, into Scotland, should, 
after the union remain in the same force as it then was, until more 
proper and effectual ways should be provided by the parliament of 
Great Britain for discouraging the importation of the said victual 
from beyond the sea. This treaty was confirmed by 5 Anne, cap. 8. 

Same session, by 5 Anne, cap. 29, parliament desiring " that there 
may be as great an equality of trade as possible " among all Her 
Majesty's subjects, enacted (by section 15) that exporters of malt 
made of wheat should be entitled to 5*. per quarter bounty money 
(in conformity with 1 William and Mary, statute 1, cap. 12 (1682). 

By 8 Anne, cap. 2 — "An Act to prohibit the exportation of Corn, Malt, 
Meal, Flour, Bread, Biscuit and Starch, and Low Wines, Spirits, 
Worts, and Wash drawn from malted Corn " — it is recited : — 

" Whereas the price of corn at this time within the kingdom of Great 
Britain is become very great, and (in some parts thereof) excessive, 
which tends to the impoverishment of many of Her Majesty's good 
subjects, especially of poor manufacturers and others of a meaner 
condition, and by reason that corn in several other parts of Europe is 
scarcer and dearer than in Great Britain, it is likely that several per- 
sons for their private advantage or lucre will not only export or convey 
great quantities of corn from this kingdom, but likewise distil exces- 
sive quantities of low wines and spirits from malt, corn and grain, in 
order to export the same to foreign parts, whereby the price of corn 

will be further enhanced, to t\ie &<fa\n&i& oi list "Ms^t^'a ^xxl 


the World : Past and Present 




Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 

subjects, and the destruction of many of them, if a timely remedy in 
this behalf be not provided. Be it therefore/ ' &c. 

It was then enacted that from 29th September, 1710, no exporta- 
tion of the articles named be made other than as therein provided. 
Export might be permitted by proclamation. No limit of price 
Same session, by 8 Anne, cap. 11 — " An Act to explain so much of the 
Act for prohibiting the exportation of Corn, Malt, Meal, Flour, 
Bread, Biscuit, and Starch, and Low Wines, Spirits, Worts, and 
Wash drawn from Malted Corn j by which Act the said commodities 
are admitted to be carried from the Isle of Wight to several markets ; 
and for giving liberty to export certain quantities of Oatmeal for the 
uses of the British Hospitals beyond the seas " — it was permitted 
after 2nd March, 1710, to export corn of the growth of the Isle of 
Wight, to Southampton, &c., in any vessel whatever, but not else- 
where, taking such cocquets, &c., as by the former Act. After 1st 
March, 1710, any person having a licence from the queen might 
export oatmeal, not exceeding 400 bushels, for Holland, not exceeding 
200 bushels to Barcelona, and not exceeding the like quantity to 
Lisbon, for the use of British troops in those places. 
'29 .... There was enacted 2 George II, cap. 18 — " An Act to ascertain the 
custom payable for Corn and Grain imported ; for better ascertaining 
the price and quantity of Corn and Grain, for which a bounty is 
payable on exportation" &c., Ac. Powers were given to justices at 
quarter sessions to determine the price of grain. 
'32 .... The 5 George II, cap. 12, amended the Act of 1685 regarding the mode 
of " determining the common market price of middling English corn 
and grain," which "had been found ineffectual 3" and the matter was 
now to be determined by the oath of the grand jury assembled at 
quarter sessions, on a presentment made in open court. This mode 
was not to extend to London. 
'38 .... By 11 George II, cap. 22 — " An Act for punishing such persons as 
shall do injuries and violences to the persons or properties of His 
Majesty's subjects, with intent to hinder the exportation of Corn " — 
it is recited : — 

" Whereas many disorderly and evil-minded persons have of late 
frequently assembled themselves in great numbers, committed great 
violences, and done many injuries to the persons and properties of 
His Majesty's subjects, with intent to hinder the exportation of corn, 
whereby many of His Majesty's subjects have been deterred from 
buying of corn and grain, and following their lawful business therein, 
to their great loss and damage, as well as the great damage and pre- 
judice of the farmers and landowners of the kingdom, and of the 
nation in general." 

It was then enacted that, " for the better preventing such wicked 
and disorderly practices," persons using violence to hinder the pur- 
chase and carriage of corn, should on conviction be imprisoned and 
publicly whipped. The " Hundred " was made liable to the extent of 
100I. for corn destroyed: — 
'41 .... 1 . By 14 George II, cap. 3 — "An Act to prohibit for the time therein 

limited the exportation of Corn, Grain (Bice excepted), Meal, Malt, 
Flour, Bread, Biscuit, Starch, Beef, Pork, and Bacon, the exportation 
of which may at this time be greatly prejudicial to His Majesty's 
subjects ;" and was therefore restrained up to the 31st December. 
But His Majesty might nevertheless grant power to export these 

2. There was enacted, 14 George II, cap. 7 — "An Act for licensing 
the importation of Victual from Ireland and other parts beyond the 
seas into Scotland, in time of dearth and scarcity." {See VIQ& *sA. 


Walfoed — On the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 







By 21 George II, cap. 2 — " An Act for granting to His Majesty a 
subsidy of poundage upon all goods and merchandises to be imported 
into this kingdom," &c. — an additional duty of izd. in the £ was 

By 24 George II. cap. 56— "An Act for ascertaining the admeasure- 
ment of Wheat, Meal, or other Corn or Grain ground, for which a 
bounty is payable on exportation" &c. — it is stated that doubts had 
arisen, and these the present Act now solved. 

By 26 George II, cap. 15 — " An Act for allowing interest upon certain 
debentures for the bounty granted on the exportation of Corn " — It 
appears that at certain ports whereat the collectors had not in hand 
at the time of export sufficient funds to pay the bounties provided by 
some of the Acts cited for the export of corn, certificates were to be 
given, and these certificates, with debentures attached, were to be 
presented for payment to the general receiver or cashier of the 
customs ; but the amount of corn exported had been so large that 
the funds for the purpose were exhausted, and it was therefore now 
enacted that all debentures six months or more overdue carry interest 
at the rate of 3 per cent, per annum. Notice was to be given when 
treasury could pay off debentures. 

There were several enactments this year which require to be re- 
viewed : — 

1. The 30 George II, cap. 1 — " An Act to prohibit for a time, to be 
limited, the exportation of Corn, Malt, Meat, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, 
and Starch " — it is enacted that the exportation of the same be greatly 
prejudicial to His Majesty's subjects, and is therefore prohibited from 
Great Britain and Ireland up to 25th December the next ensuing ; 
exception in favour of grain carried coastwise, and to certain British 

2. The 30 George II, cap. 7 — " An Act to discontinue for a limited 
time the duties upon Corn and Flour imported ; and also upon such 
Corn, Grain, Meat, Bread, Biscuit and Flour, as have been or shall 
be taken from the enemy, and brought into this kingdom." 

3. The 30 George II, cap. 9 — "An Act to prohibit for a limited time 
the exportation of Corn, Grain, Meal, Malt, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, 
Starch Beef, Pork, Bacon, and other Victual (except Fish, Boots and 
Bice, to be exported to any part of Europe southward of Cape Finis- 
terre) from His Majesty's colonies and plantations in America, unless 
to Great Britain or Ireland, or to some of the said colonies and 
plantations, and to permit the importation of Corn and Flour into 
Great Britain and Ireland in neutral ships ; and to allow the expor- 
tation of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Meal and Flour from Great Britain 
to the Isle of Man, for the use of the inhabitants there." 

4. The 30 George II, cap. 14 — " An Act for continuing an Act of this 
present session of parliament, entituled, * An Act to discontinue for 
a limited time the duties upon Corn and Flour imported ; and also 
upon such Corn, Grain, Meal, Bread, Biscuit and Flour as have been 
or shall be taken from the enemy, and brought into this kingdom.' n 
Recited Act continued to 15th November, 1757. 

There are several enactments also this year : — 

1. The 30 George II, cap. 7 — " An Act to discontinue for a limited 
time the duties upon Corn and Flour imported ; and also upon such 
Corn, Grain, Bread, Biscuit and Flour, as have been or shall be taken 
from the enemy, and brought into this kingdom," simply recites — 
"Whereas the discontinuing of the duties for a limited time upon 
corn and flour imported into this kingdom, and also upon such 
corn, grain, meal, bread, biscuit and flour, as have been or shall 
be taken from the enemy and brought into this kingdom, may be of 
advantage to His Majesty's subjects," and it is therefore enacted 

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Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 





2. The 30 G-eorge II, cap. 9, sec. 13, recited as follows : — " And 
whereas by an Act passed this present session of parliament, entituled, 
'An Act to prohibit/ &c. [30 George II, cap. 1] ... it was 
enacted that no person at any time before the 25th December, 1757, 
should export or carry out of or from the kingdoms of Great Britain 
or Ireland, any sort of corn, malt, meal." 

3. Bj 31 G-eorge II, cap. 1, each of the two last Acts were continued 
in force to 24th December, 1758 ; and all duties upon grain imported 
were discontinued ; with an exception in favour of His Majesty, 
" with advice of privy council, to order and permit the exportation 
of such quantities of the commodities aforesaid as may be necessary 
for the sustentation of any forces in the pay of Cheat Britain, or of 
those of His Majesty's allies acting in support of the common cause. 1 ' 
The payment of bounty during the continuance of this Act prohibited. 

4. The 31 George II, cap. 28 — " An Act to permit the importation 
of Salted Beef, Pork and Butter from Ireland for a limited time, 
viz., for five months." 

5. The 31 G-eorge II, cap. 37 — " An Act to permit the exportation of 
certain quantities of Malt now lying in His Majesty's storehouses ; 
and to allow the bounty upon such Corn and Malt as was shipped and 
cleared for Ireland, on or before a limited time ; and to authorise the 
transportation of Flour, Meat, Bread and Biscuit to the islands of 
Guernsey and Jersey, for the use of the inhabitants there, in lieu of 
the Wheat, Malt or Barley which may now, by law, be transported to 
those islands." By this enactment the merchants of Norwich and Yar- 
mouth were permitted (sec. 1) to export to Holland, within a limited 
time 200 lasts of long malt, lying in the king's storehouses, which 
were entered for exportation on or before 31st January, 1757, they 
giving security for the due loading, Ac, to Holland ; and (sec. 4) the 
inhabitants of Lynn and Wells (Norfolk) were permitted to export 
to Holland, under like regulations, 350 lasts of malt, lying in the 
king's storehouses ; while liberty was also granted (sec. 6) of export- 
ing from the port of Southampton within a limited time, and in 
limited quantities, meal, flour, bread or biscuit, for the use of the 
inhabitants of Jersey and G-uernsey j 70 lbs. avoirdupoise weight to be 
deemed equal to a bushel. 

There were again several enactments bearing upon the importation and 
exportation of food, grain, meat, &c. : — 

1. The 32 G-eorge II, cap. 1, "An Act to continue for a limited time 
the Act made in the last session of Parliament, entituled, ' An Act to 
permit the importation of Salted Beef, Pork and Butter from Ireland, 
for a limited time, and to amend the said Act.' " This Act in its 
second recital says, " And whereas doubts have arisen whether all 
kinds of salted pork, and hogmeat, may be imported from Ireland by 
virtue of the above recited Act," and it was therefore enacted that all 
kinds of salted pork and " hogmeat," might be imported. 

2. The scarcity of grain being still felt, the Acts of last session were 
continued in force by 32 George II, cap. 2, " An Act to continue for 
a further time the prohibition of the exportation of Corn, Malt, 
Meal, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, and Starch," till the 24th December, 
1759, " unless the term should be abridged by parliament, or procla- 
mation, or Order of Council." 

3. But in the meantime, as grain became abundant in quantity, 
and reduced in price in a corresponding degree, there was enacted 
32 George II, cap. 8, " An Act for taking off the prohibition on the 
exportation of Corn, Malt, Meal, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, and Starch." 

4. " An Act to permit the free importation of Cattle from Ireland 
for a limited time, viz., for five years, from 1st May, 1759, duty free." 

The Act for discontinuing the duties on grain imported wea t&aro*^ 
to expire. 


Walpord — Chi the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 


1759 ... 

'60 ... 

'61 ... 

68 ... 

'65 .. 

'66 .. 


There -was enacted, the 33 George II, cap. 5, "An Act to continue 
for a limited time the importation of Salted Beef, Fork, and Butter 
from Ireland." 

There was enacted, 1 George III, cap. 4, " An Act to continue for a 
limited time the importation of Salted Beef, Pork, and Butter from 
Ireland," and the time was continued to 24th December, 1761. 

Note. — Mr. Comber estimated the average annual produce of wheat 
at this date in Great Britain at 3,800,000 quarters, of which about 
3,500,000 were required for home consumption ; and 300,000 quarters 
were left for export. 

There was enacted, 2 George III, cap. 6, " An Act for the Importation 
of Salted Beef, Pork, and Butter into the Kingdom from Ireland, for 
a limited time, for the supply of His Majesty's Ships, Transports, and 
other Ship 8 and Vessels in His Majesty's service and pay." 

There was enacted, 4 George III, cap. 28, "An Act to enable His 
Majesty, with the advice of his privy council, to order the importa- 
tion of Provisions from Ireland during the next recess of Parliament 
under certain restrictions and regulations therein mentioned ;" the 
preamble whereof recites, " Whereas the price of provisions is at pre- 
sent high, and may become higher ; that it greatly atfects the poor 
people, and will tend to hurt the trade and manufacture of this 
kingdom if not timely prevented," therefore His Majesty was enabled, 
with the advice of his privy council, to order the importation of salt 
provisions from Ireland during the recess of Parliament ; and all 
persons were exempted from duties and from penalties on account of 
such importation, other than the following duties to the commis- 
sioners for the duties on salt, viz., 3*. \d. per barrel on beef and pork, 
and 1*. 3d. per cwt. for all dried beef, neats' tongues, and hogmeat, 
and \d. per cwt. for salted butter j to be paid into the exchequer as 
part of the duties on salt. 

The tl easures before parliament on the food question this year were : — 

1. The 5 George III, cap. 1, "An Act for importation of Salted 
Beef, Pork, Bacon, and Butter from Ireland for a limited time, viz., 
for twelve months from date of Act, on paying Salt Duties." 

2. The 5 George III, cap. 10, " An Act to permit the free impor- 
tation of Cattle from Ireland." This importation was to continue for 
seven years without payment of duties. 

3. 5 George III, cap. 31, " An Act to discontinue for a limited time 
the duties upon Wheat and Wheat Flour imported, and also the 
bounty payable on exportation of Wheat and Wheat Flour." 

4. The 5 George III, cap. 32, "An Act to enable His Majesty, 
with the advice of his Privy Council, to prohibit the exportation of 
Wheat, Wheaten Meal, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, and Starch, during the 
next recess of Parliament, at such time and in such manner as the 
necessity of the time may require, and he, in his wisdom, shall think 
convenient and needful." 

The following Acts formed part of the legislation of this session : — 

1. The 6 George III, cap. 1, "An Act to continue an Act made in 
the last session of Parliament, intituled ' An Act for importation of 
Salted Beef, Pork, Bacon, and Butter from Ireland for a limited 
time.' " 

2. The 6 George III, cap. 3, " An Act for allowing the importation 
of Corn and Grain from His Majesty's Colonies in America into this 
Kingdom, for a limited time, free of duty." 

3. The 6 George III, cap. 4, " An Act for allowing the importation 
of Oats and Oatmeal into this Kingdom, for a limited time, duty 

4. The 6 George III, cap. 5, " An Act to prohibit the exportation 
of Corn, Grain, Malt, Meal, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, and Starch for a 
limited time." 

the World : Past and Present. 





Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — ContoL 

5. This last Act was amended by an Act of the same session, 6 
G-eorge IV, c. 40, to the extent of allowing wheat to be exported from 
Southampton and Exeter for the use of the inhabitants of the Isle of 
Man, but not to exceed in the whole 2,500 quarters. 
The legislation of this year embraced the following : — 

1. The 7 G-eorge III, cap. 1, "An Act to continue an Act made in the 
fifth year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled ' An Act for 
importation of Salted Beef, Pork, Bacon, and Butter from Ireland, 
into this Kingdom for a limited time.' " 

2. The 7 George III, cap. 3, " An Act to prohibit for a limited time 
the exportation of Corn, Grain, Meal, Malt, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, 
and Starch, and also the extraction of Low Wines and Spirits from 
Wheat and Wheat Flour." 

3. The 7 George III, cap. 4, " An Act for allowing the importation 
of Wheat and Wheat Flour from His Majesty's Colonies in America, 
for a limited time, free of duty." 

4. The 7 George III, cap. 5, " An Act for allowing the importation 
of Wheat and Wheat Flour from any part of Europe into this 
Kingdom, for a limited time, free of duty." 

5. The 7 George III, cap. 8, " An Act for allowing the importation 
of Oats and Oatmeal, Bye and Byemeal, into this Kingdom, for a 
limited time, free of duty." 

6. The 7 George III, cap. 11, " An Act for allowing the importation 
of Wheat and Flour, free of duty, from any part of Europe, for a 
further time than is allowed by any Act made in this session of par- 
liament, and for permitting the free importation of Barley, Barley- 
meal and Pulse into this Kingdom, for a limited time." 

7. The 7 George III, cap. 22, " A.n Act for further allowing the 
importation of Wheat and Wheat Flour, Barley, Barleymeal, and 
Pulse, free of duty, into this Kingdom, from any part of Europe." 

8. The 7 George III, cap. 30, "An Act for allowing the free 
importation of Rice, Sago Powder and Vermicelli, into this Kingdom 
from His Majesty's Colonies in North America, for a limited 

9. The 7 George III, cap. 36, " An Act to continue so much of an 
Act made in the thirty- third year of the reign of his late Majesty, as 
relates to the free importation of Cochineal and Indigo, and for 
allowing the Bounties granted by any Acts of Parliament now in 
being upon the exportation of Corn and Malt declared or made for 
exportation, and Barley steeped and entered at the Excise Office to 
be made into Malt for exportation, for a limited time." 

10. The 7 George III, cap. 45, " An Act for encouraging and regu- 
lating the Trade and Manufactures of the Isle of Man, and for the 
more easy supplying of the inhabitants there with a certain quantity 
of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Meal, and Flour, authorised by an Act made 
in the last session, to be transported to the said Island." 

11. The 7 George III, cap. 54, "An Act {inter alia) for empowering 
His Majesty, with the advice of his Privy Council, to permit the 
importation of any sort of Corn or Grain, duty free, into this 
Kingdom, for a longer time than is permitted by any Act of this 
session of Parliament." 

But this was not all. Owing to the high price of food and the riots 
and tumults that ensued, the privy council, on the 26th September, 
before the meeting of parliament (which usually then assembled at 
the commencement of the winter season) issued a proclamation, laying 
an embargo on the exportation of wheat and flour, and prohibiting 
the use of that grain in the distilleries. By this exercise of the 
dispensing power, under the plea of its being impracticable to take 
the advice of parliament — whilst the meeting of parliament. ta& 
been by a like proclamation postponed from \ft\ta. ^Q\tarccfc3t to Wfib. 


Walford- — On the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on ike Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 






November — Lord Chatham incurred much subsequent censure ; but 
there was finally enacted — 

12. The 7 George III, cap. 7, "An Act for indemnifying such 
Persons as have acted for the service of the Public, in advising or 
carrying into execution the Order in Council of the 26th day of Sep- 
tember last, for laying an embargo on all Ships laden with Wheat or 
Wheat Flour, and for preventing suits in consequence of the said 
The legislation of this year consisted of : — 

1. The 8 George III, cap. 1 — " An Act to continue and amend the 
Act made in the last session of Parliament, to prohibit, for a limited 
time, the exportation of Corn, Grain, Meal, Malt, flour, Bread, 
Biscuit and Starch, and also the extraction of Low Wines and 
Spirits from Wheat and Wheat Flour." 

2. The 8 George III, cap. 2 — " An Act to continue several Acts made 
in the last session of parliament, for allowing the importation of 
Wheat, Wheat Flour, Barley, Barley Meal, Pulse, Oats, Oatmeal, Bye, 
and Bye Meal, duty free ; and also so much of an Act made in the 
same session, as relates to the free importation of Bice, from His 
Majesty's colonies in Sortk America ; and to allow the importation of 
Wheat and Wheat Flour from jifrica, for a limited time, free of duty." 

3. The 8 George III, cap. 3 — " An Act for the free importation of 
Indian com, or Maize, from any of His Majesty's colonies in America, 
for a time therein limited." 

4. The 8 George III, cap. 4 — " An Act to continue and amend an Act 
made in the fifth year of the reign of His present Majesty, intituled, 
' An Act for importation of Salted Beef, Pork, Bacon, and Butter, 
from Ireland* for a limited time ; ' and for allowing the importation of 
Salted Beef, Pork, Bacon, and Butter, from the British dominions in 
America, for a limited time." 

5. The 8 George III. cap. 24 — " An Act to permit the exportation of 
certain quantities of Malt, belonging to certain merchants, in the 
county of Norfolk, and which were made for exportation between the 
15th November. 1876, and the passing of this Act of last session for 
prohibiting the exportation of Malt." 

6. And in a special session held in May, of the 8 George ill (sees. 1), 
cap. 1 — " An Act for further continuing certain laws, to prohibit for 
a limited time, the exportation of Corn, Grain, Meal, Malt, Flour, 
Bread, Biscuit and Starch, and also the extraction of Low Wines and 
Spirits, from Wheat and Wheat Flour ; for further allowing the 
importation of Wheat and Wheat Flour, Barley, Barley Meal, and 
Pulse, free »>f duty, into this Kingdom, from any part of Europe ; and 
for allowing the importation of Chits and Oatmeal, Bye and Byemeal, 
into this Kingdom, for a limited time, free of duty, and also for 
continuing such other laws as will expire before the beginning of the 
next session of Parliament/* 

There were awn several food enactments : — 

1. The 9 George III. cap. 1 — "An Ad to prohibit for a further time 
the ejrportat&n of Corn, Grain. Meal, Malt, Flour, Bread, Biscuit 
and Starch : and also the extraction of Low Wines and Spirits from 
Wheat, ami Wheat Flour." 

2. The 9 George III. cap. 4 — ** An Act to allow for a further time, 
the free importation of fie*, into this Kingdom from His Majesty's 
colonies of Sort* AmericaS" 

& The 9 George HI. cap. 9 — tt An Act to continue an Act made in 
the eighth rear of the reign of His present Majesty, intituled 
[8 George ill, cap. 9\ " An Act for importation of Salted Beef, Pork, 
Bacon and Butter from Inl+mJL for a limited time ; and for allowing 
Ik* importation of Salt*! Beef, Pork. Bacon and Batter from the 
JNftsa dpJ*ittk>m in America fat 


the World : Past and Present. 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Oram — Contd* 


1770 .... 

'71 .... 

Again there were several measures relating to exportation and importa- 
tion of grain, &c. 

1. By 10 George III, cap. 1 — " An Act for continuing an Act made 
in the last session of Parliament, to prohibit, for a further time, the 
exportation of Corn, Grain, Meal, Malt, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, and 
Starch ; and also an extraction of Low Wines and Spirits from Wheat 
and Wheat Flour." 

2. By 10 George III, cap. 2, the right to import certain salted 
provisions from Ireland and the British dominions in America was 
continued to 1st March, 1771. 

3. The 10 George III, cap. 10 — " An Act to permit the exportation 
of Malt." 

4. A new feature, that of statistical returns of exports and imports, 
was introduced by 10 George III, cap. 39— " An Act for registering 
the prices at which Corn is sold in the several counties of Great 
Britain, and the quantity exported and imported " — it is recited : 
" Whereas a register of the prices at which corn is sold in the several 
counties of Great Britain will be of public and general advantage." 
It then enacts that justices at quarter sessions were to order weekly 
returns to be made of the prices of wheat, rye, barley, oats, beans, 
and bigg from not less than two or more than six markets in each 
county ; and to appoint persons to make such returns. Meal-weighers 
in London to make return. An account of the quantities of corn 
exported and imported, and of the bounties and duties paid and 
received, was to be transmitted annually to' the Treasury by the com- 
missioners of customs. 

This year there was enacted various measures relating to food supply. 

1 . The 11 George III, cap. 1 — " An Act to continue the prohibition 
of the exportation of Corn, Grain, Meal, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, 
and Starch, and also of the extraction of Low Wines and Spirits 
from Wheat and Wheat Flour for a further time ; and also to pro- 
hibit the exportation of Malt for a limited time." — There were 
exceptions made in favour of vessels taking such stores as were 
necessary for their voyages ; also for His Majesty's ships of war, &c., 
forces or garrisons ; also as to such victuals carried coastwise ; also 
for exportation from Ireland to Great Britain, or vice versd ; or to 
Gibraltar, America, or British colonies in America, or to the British 
fishery there ; also exception for beans exported to the British forts 
in Africa, or as to any of the said commodities exported by the East 
India Company to tneir forts ; also as to wheat, flour, malt, barley, 
bread, biscuit, or peas exported from Southampton to Jersey, Guern- 
sey, and Alderney, &c, for the use of the inhabitants there only, not 
exceeding 5,000 quarters in the whole ; and for wheat, barley, oats, 
and meal or flour from Whitehaven or Liverpool to the Isle of Man 
for the use of the inhabitant* there, not exceeding in the whole 
2,500 quarters, of which equal moieties were to be shipped from 
Whitehaven and Liverpool ; also for bread and biscuit, not exceeding 
fifteen tons, sent by the Committee of African Merchants to their 
forts, &c., in Africa. The commissioners of customs to return 
account to parliament of all corn, &c, so exported. There was to be 
no prohibition against exporting rice. This measure, in fact, mainly 
consisted of exceptions to the rule it laid down, and so indicates that 
difficulties were being felt. 

2. By 11 George III, cap. 8, the importation of salted pro- 
visions from Ireland and America was permitted until 1st March, 

3. A new feature was now introduced. By 2 George III, cap. 37— 
" An Act to prohibit the exportation of Live Cattle and other Flesh 
Provisions from Great Britain for a limited time "— viz.^ to ttsa tratw- 
tiefch day after the commencement of tiie 1&01& tfewsuscL <& ^w^aasasrcfc^ 


Walford— On the Famines of 

Table X — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — ContcL 







with certain exceptions in (stout of ships of war, and in favour of 
cattle, Ac., sent to Gibraltar, Minorca, or America. 
There were again sereral measures this Tear. 

1. The 12 George III, cap. 1, continued the Act against exportation^ 
chapter 1, of last session, over to next session, with certain slight 

2. The 12 George III, cap. 2. continued the Act permitting im- 
portation of salt provisions from Ireland and America till 1st 
March, 1773. 

3. The 12 George III, cap. 60, allowed the importation of rice 
from the British plantations into the ports of Bristol, Lie er pool, 
Lancaster, and Whitehaven "for immediate exportation to foreign 

4. See Ibrestallers, Ac, Table No. 12, for another Act of this year. 
There were again sereral important measures as to importation and 

exportation of food. 

1. The 13 George HI, cap. 1 — " An Act for allowing the importation 
of Wheat, Wheat Flour, Bye, Rye Meal, Barley, Barley Meal, Oats, 
Oatmeal, Peas, Beans, Tares, Callirancies, and all other sorts of Pulse 
from any part of Europe or Africa into this Kingdom for a limited 
time, free of duty " — riz., at any time before 1st January, 1774. 
Entry to be made of all such imports in the form heretofore in use, 
otherwise such wheat, &c. y should be subject to duties previously 

2. The 13 George III, cap. 2 — " An Act for allowing the importa- 
tion of Wheat, Wheat Flour, Indian Corn, Indian Meal, Biscuit, Pease, 
Beans, Tares, Callivancies, and all other sorts of Pulse from His 
Majesty's Colonies in America into this Kingdom for a limited time, 

free of duty " — viz., from 1st December, 1772, to 1st January, 1774. 
Entry to be made as formerly, or duties to be charged. Such grain 
might be carried coastwise. 

3. The 13 George III, cap. 3 — " An Act to prohibit the exporta- 
tion of Corn, Grain, Pease, Beans, Meal, Malt, Bread, Biscuit, and 
Starch, and also the extraction of Low Wines and Spirits from Wheat 
Flour for a limited time " — viz., till 1st January, 1774. After passing 
of this Act all grain loaded on any ship for exportation to be for- 
feited. The exceptions were much the same as in 11 George 111, 
cap. 1. 

4. The 13 George III, cap. 4, continued the license to import salt 
provisions from Ireland and America till 1st March, 1774. 

5. The 13 George III, cap. 7— "An Act for allowing the free im- 
portation of Bice into this Kingdom from any of His Majesty's Colonies 
in America for a limited time, and for encouraging the making of 
Starch from Bice " — viz., at anv time before 1st May, 1780. 

6. The legislature began to grow weary of such hand-to-mouth 
measures as had now continued over quite a series of years, and hence 
there was enacted ihe 13 George III, cap. 43 — " An Act to regulate 
the importation and exportation of Corn." It is recited as follows: — 

" Whereas the sereral Acts of parliament heretofore made concern- 
ing the duties and bounties respectively payable on the importation 
and exportation of corn and grain hare greatly tended to the advance- 
ment of tillage and n tvigation ; yet nevertheless it having been of 
late years found necessary, on account of the small quantities of corn 
and grain in hand, and of the shortness of the crops, to suspend the 
operations of those laws by temporary statute, whereby the benefits 
derived from the said Acts of parliament haTe been during such 
emergencies withheld and suspended ; and whereas the regulating the 
importation and exportation of corn and grain by a permanent law, 
under such general rules and provisions as might render for the time 
to come such temporary \awa xumewss&r^^wAsi «Sosd encourage- 

the World : Past and Present 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grairr- Contd. 







ment to the farmer, be the means of increasing the growth of that 
necessary commodity, and of affording a cheaper and more constant 
supply to the poor, and preventing abuse in that article of trade. 
May it therefore please Your Majesty, &c." 

It was then enacted that no British wheat be exported when at 
44*. per quarter ; rye, peas, or beans when at 28*. ; barley when at 
22s. ; nor oats when at 14s. per quarter, under penalty of forfeiture 
of 20*. per bushel, and the vessel in which the same should be 
carried. There were exceptions as to export to Ireland and to 
certain British forts and islands specified with great precision. 

After 1st July, 1774, as in 11 George III, cap. 1, the former scale 
of bounties for exports were to cease, and a new scale to take effect. 

7. The 13 George III, cap. 72 — "An Act to permit the free im- 
portation of Cod Fish, Ling, and Hake caught and cured in Chaleur 
Bay, or any other part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or on the coasts 
of Labrador." 

The produce of wheat in Great Britain was stated in the House of 
Commons to be 4,000,000 quarters, of which the whole, and above 
100,000 imported quarters, were consumed. 
By 14 George III, cap. 64 — " An Act to explain so much of an Act 
made in the last session of Parliament (intituled, &c), as relates lo 
the method of ascertaining the prices of Corn "—it is set forth that 
after 1st June this year the prices of corn, grain, &c, should mean 
the " average prices" under the regulations therein stated. In cases 
where the prices of grain rose within the prohibited schedule 
within twenty days after entry at custom house, the shipping might 
By 15 George III, cap. 1 — "An Act to allow the importation of 
Indian corn and maize, under certain restrictions " — it is recited : — 

"That under the Act of 1773 (cap. 43), the mention of Indian 
corn was omitted," and it was therefore now enacted that this might 
be imported, paying id. per quarter, under the like regulations as 
barley in the Act of 1773. 
By 19 George III, cap. 25 — "An Act for granting to His Majesty 
additional duties upon the produce of the several duties under the 
management of the respective companies of the Customs and Excise 
of Great Britain " — an additional duty of 5 per cent, of the former 
duty was laid on all goods imported into, or exported from, or carried 
coastwise in Great Britain. 
The 20 George III, cap. 31 — "An Act for allowing a bounty on the 
exportation of British Corn and Grain in ships, the property of 
persons of any kingdom or State at amity with his majesty " — 
recites : — 

" Whereas much of the shipping of this kingdom, built in times 
of peace for the purposes of commerce, is now at the present time of 
war and hostilities, employed in transporting your majesty's troops 
and stores, and many ships and vessels, through the spirited exertions 
of your majesty's subjects, are converted into private ships of war, as 
also great numbers of seamen, taken from the merchant service, are 
in like manner employed, and whereas, from these and other effects 
of the war, the exportation of corn and grain from Great Britain is 
so far interrupted, that it cannot now with advantage to the farmer 
and merchant, notwithstanding the bounty granted thereon, be 
exported in British shipping, the master and two thirds at least of 
the mariners being your majesty's subjects." 

It was therefore enacted that exporters of British earn in vessels 
belonging to any State in amity with his majesty, were to be allowed 
half the usual bounty. The said bounty to be paid under the like 
conditions, and as for corn reported in British shipping. 

This Act was to continue until 25th. Msrcto^ Yft>\\ >i\& **» ^">* 


Walford — On tlie Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd, 









further continued by 21 George III, cap. 29, and 22 George III, 
cap. 13, until 25th March, 1783. 

By 21 George III, cap. 50 — "An Act for further regulating and 
ascertaining the importation and exportation of Corn and Grain, 
within several ports and places therein mentioned " — so much of the 
Acts of 1685, 1732, 1766, and 1773 as related to determining the 
price of middling English wheat in Kent, Essex, and London 
was repealed, and the prices in these places were in future to be 
regulated by the prices ascertained in the city of London by the 
inspector of the returns of the factors in the corn exchange. 

By 22 George III, cap. 66 — " An Act for granting to His Majesty 
additional duties upon the produce of the several duties under the 
management of the respective commissioners of the Customs and 
Excise in Great Britain" — from 25th July this year an additional 
duty of 5 per cent, of former duties was laid upon all goods imported 
into, or exported from, or carried coastwise in Great Britain. 

The 27 George III, cap. 13, was an Act for repealing the several duties 
of customs and excise, and granting other duties in lieu thereof. 
Under this Act a very small addition was made to the former duties 
on grain imported or exported. See supplemental table at end of 
this table. 

By 29 George III, cap. 58 — "An Act for better regulating and 
ascertaining the importation and exportation of Corn and Grain ; 
also for the better regulating the exportation of Starch and the 
importation of Rape Seed" — the regulations of the Act of 1781 
were modified to the extent that the inspector of corn returns was to 
receive from every corn factor in London and the suburbs a weekly 
return of the corn brought into the Thames eastward of London 
Bridge which was sold by him during the preceding week. One 
halfpenny was to be charged on every " last " contained in such 
returns, or id. if foreign corn ; with many other most elaborate 

There was enacted 31 George III, cap. 30 — " An Act for regulating the 
importation and exportation of Corn, and the payment of the duty 
on foreign Corn imported, and of the bounty on British Corn 
exported " — which recites : 

" Whereas the laws now in force regulating the importation and 
exportation of corn, and the payment of the duty on foreign corn 
imported, and of the bounty granted on British corn exported, 
require amendment ; and it is expedient that certain parts of the 
said laws should be continued, and new provisions made, and that the 
same should be comprised in one Act of Parliament." 

It therefore enacted the repeal of the Acts of 1685, 1688, 1732, 
1770, 1773, 1781, 1789, and all other Acts relating to the importation 
of grain of all kinds. The provisions of the Act of 1663 as to 
buying corn to sell again, and laying it up in granaries, were also 
repealed. Then follow a long series of most elaborate regulations in 
view of the purposes of the Act, extending in all to 94 sections, now 
long since happily repealed. Permission was given to export from. 
the port of Southampton to the Channel Isles 9,800 quarters of 
grain, meal, &c., within two years, and no more. Malt made for 
export exempted from operation of Act. 

By an Order in Council, under date 9th November this year, the 
exportation of wheat or flour was prohibited until 1st March, 1793. 

In consequence of the last step, the formula of 1767 had to be 
repeated, and there was enacted 33 George III, cap. 3 — " An Act for 
indemnifying all Persons who have been concerned in advising and 
carrying into execution an Order in Council respecting the exporta- 
tion of Wheat and Wheat Flour, for preventing suits in consequence 
of the same, and for making further provisions relative thereto ; and 

the World : Past and Present 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 


1793 .. 

«7t> ... 

y& .... 

'96 .... 

also for authorising His Majesty to prohibit the exportation of Corn, 
Meal, Flour, Bread, Biscuit, and Potatoes, and to permit the importation 
of Corn, Meal, or Flour on the low duties " — which recites, " And 
whereas the said Order cannot be justified by law, but was so much 
for the service of the public, and so necessary for the safety and 
preservation of His Majesty's subjects, that the same ought to be 
justified by an Act of parliament, and all persons issuing, advising, 
or acting under or in obedience to the said Order respectively 
indemnified. " All of which was accordingly done. Until 1st March, 
1793, all wheat, &c, exported out of Great Britain, or shipped with 
that intent, to be forfeited, as also the vessel. There were exceptions 
in conformity with 31 George III, cap. 30. 

By 33 George III, cap. 65. The same session there was enacted an 
Act to amend the Act of 1791, whereby many of the provisions of 
that Act are repealed and others substituted, in regard to the 
receivership of " Corn returns," from which to deduce the weekly 
prices. This Act consisted of twenty-one sections, some of them very 

There was enacted 35 George III, cap. 4 — " An Act for enabling His 
Majesty to prohibit the exportation, and to permit the importation 
of Corn, and for allowing the importation of other articles of 
provision, for a limited time, without payment of duty." His 
Majesty might order the taking out foreign corn from ware- 
houses for home consumption. Certain articles might also be 
imported into Great Britain from any place, in British vessels, or 
vessels belonging to places in amity with His Majesty, duty free. 
The articles enumerated in this Act constitute the following extended 
list, in addition to the various kinds of grain, viz., beans, called 
kidney or French beans, tares, lentils, callivancies, and all other 
sorts of pulse ; and also bulls, cows, oxen, calves, sheep, lambs and 
swine ; beef, pork, mutton, veal, and lamb, whether salted or 
otherwise ; bacon, hams, tongues, butter, cheese, potatoes, rice, sago, 
sago powder, tapioca, vermicelli, millet seed, poultry, fowls, eggs, 
game, and sour-crout. 

There were several measures relating to food supplies, one embodying 
an entirely new feature, viz., Bounties on Imports. 

1. The 36 George III, cap. 3 — " An Act to prohibit the exporta- 
tion of Corn, Meal, Flour and Potatoes, and to permit the 'importa- 
tion of Corn, and other articles of provision for a limited time in any 
ships whatever, without payment of duty." There was no new 

2. The bounty system was now to be tried in relation to imports, 
by the 36 George III, cap. 21 — " An Act for allowing bounties for a 
limited time, on the importation into Great Britain of any Wheat, 
Wheat Flour, Indian Corn, Indian Meal, and Bye." It was, 
however, specified what maximum quantities might be /-so admitted 
from different parts of the globe, as : 

a. From Europe, south of Cape Finisterre, from the Mediterranean, 
or Africa, not exceeding 400,000 quarters (of z\ cwt., avoirdupoise, 
per quarter), at a bounty of 20*. per quarter. 

b. From other parts of Europe to the extent of 500,000 quarters 
(same weight) a bounty of 15*. per quarter, or 4*. 6d. on every 
cwt. of wheat flour. 

c. From His Majesty's colonies, 500,000 quarters (same weight), a 
bounty of 20*. per quarter, or 6s. per cwt. on wheat flour. 

On all quantities in excess of those specified the bounties were to be 
io*. per quarter only. A bounty of 5*. per quarter on Indian corn 
and meal, up to 500,000 quarters, and then reduced bounty; and 
a bounty of 10*. per quarter on rye, up to 100,000 quarters, and, 
then reduced. 


Walfoed — On the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 





All such imports for bounties to be made before 30th September, 
1796, and to be made at one or any of the following ports : — London, 
Aberyswith, Beaumaris, Berwicka, Boston, Bristol, Carlisle, Chester, 
Chichester, Colchester, Cowes, Dartmouth, Dover, Exeter, Falmouth, 
Harwich, Hull, Ipswich, Lancaster, Liverpool, Lyme, Lynn, Maldon, 
Milford, Newcastle, Penzance, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Preston, 
Rochester, Sandwich, Southampton, Stockton, Sunderland, Swansea, 
Wells, Whitehaven, Whitby, Wisbeach, Yarmouth, Aberdeen, Ayr, 
Alloa, Campbletown, Dumfries, Dunbar^ Dundee, Glasgow, including 
Port Glasgow, Greenock, Kirkaldy, Kirkcudbright, Leith, Lerwick, 
Montrose, and Wighton, on foreign corn warehoused before the 
passing of this Act, and taken out within three months after the 
bounty to be paid. 

3. By 36 George III, cap. 56, the last-named Act is amended by 
the addition of the following ports to which shipments of grain 
might be made, viz., Barnstaple, Biddiford, Bridgewater, Bridport, 
Cardiff, Cardigan, Carnarvon, Fowey, Newhaven, Scarborough, 
Shoreham, Weymouth, Borrowstowness, Perth, Grangeworth, and 
Port Dundas. 
There were again several enactments on food supply — one suspending 
the Bounty Act of last session. 

1. The 37 George III, cap. 7 — "An Act to continue for a limited 
time, and amend an Act made in the last session of parliament, 
intituled an Act [36 George III, cap. 3] ; and for permitting Wheat, 
Wheat Flour, and Meal, imported in order to obtain the bounties 
granted by an Act of the last session of Parliament, but which have 
not been found fit for making Bread, to be used in the manufacture 
of Starch, Hair Powder, and Blue, or in the distillation of Low 
Wines and Spirits." This right to be extended to 1st February, 

2. The 37 George III, cap. 15 — " An Act for granting to His Majesty 
certain duties of customs on goods, wares, and merchandise im- 
ported into, exported from, or brought and carried coastwise within 
Great Britain, except wines and coals " — an additional duty of 5 per 
cent, on former duties on goods imported, including grain (and 
10 per cent, on certain other goods), was imposed. 

3. It seems that the bounty had done its work effectively, while 
the harvest prospects were also probably good, for by the 37 George III, 
cap. 83 — " An Act to repeal so much of an Act passed in the present 
session of parliament, as prohibits the exportation, and permits the 
importation, duty free, of several sorts of Corn, and other articles 
made thereof" — And which received royal assent 18th June, it is 
recited, " and whereas since the passing of the said Act the prices of 
several of the sorts of coin therein mentioned, have been consider- 
ably diminished," therefore, after 16th June, " so much of the 
said Act as relates to importation and exportation, and the carrying 
const wise of barley, beer or bigg, pease, oats, or any meal, flour, 
bread, biscuit, or malt made thereof, shall be, and the same is 
hereby repealed." No such articles entered for exportation before 
6th February, 1798, to be entitled to bounty. 

4. The 37 George III, cap. 125 — " An Act for authorising His 
Majesty to permit the exportation of an additional quantity of 
Wheat, Wheat Meal, or Flour, Rye, Barley, or Malt, or Bread, 
Biscuit, or Pease, to the Islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and Aldemey, 
for the sustenance and use of the inhabitants of the said islands, for a 
limited time" — recited that it was expedient to allow a greater 
quantity of corn and other articles to be exported to the Channel 
Islands than had been provided for under the Acts of 1791 and 1793 
(cap. 65), and the quantity was extended to 10,000 quarters. 

There was enacted 38 George 111, c&s.\Q— " An Ask to continue until 

the World : Past and Present 






Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Orain — Contd. 

the expiration of six weeks from the commencement of the next 
session of parliament, so much of an Act passed in the session of 
parliament of the 36th and 37th years of his present Majesty, cap. 7, 
viz., on the 11th November, 1796, as relates to the exportation and 
carrying coastwise of Wheat and Bye, and to the 'importation of 
several articles of provisions." It provided that foreign wheat or 
rye, or the flour, &c., thereof, arriving at any port in Great Britain by 
31st December, 1797, might be imported duty free, if proved to 
have been ready for sea at certain periods. During the recess of 
parliament His Majesty might suspend the provisions of this Act. 

By another Act of this same session, 37 George III, cap. 110, an 
additional duty of 5 per cent, upon former duties upon grain, &c, was 

There was enacted : 1. 39 G-eorge III, cap. 87 — " An Act for enabling 
His Majesty to prohibit the exportation, and permit the importation 
of Corn, and for allowing the importation of other articles of pro- 
vision, without payment of duty, to continue in force until six weeks 
from the commencement of the next session of parliament." But 
this power was not to extend to foreign corn warehoused on the con- 
ditions of 31 George III, cap. 30, and not taken out for home 
consumption. Copies of any order of council to be laid before 

2. The 39 George III, cap. 88—" An Act for erecting the County 
of Edinburgh into a separate district for the purpose of regulating the 
importation and exportation of Corn." This was a modification of 
the provisions of the 33 George III, cap. 65. 

This year was prolific of legislation on the famine question. 

1. The 39 and 40 George III, c. 9—" An Act to continue 

until 30th September 1800, an Act of the last session of parliament 
for enabling His Majesty to prohibit the exportation of Corn, and 
for allowing the importation of other articles of provisions without 
payment of duty." 

2. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 29—" An Act for granting 
bounties on the importation of Wheat, Wheaten Flour, and Rice 
until the 1st day of October, 1800." This bounty wn.9 to be paid 
according to the price of wheat as advertised in the Gazette. (See 
cap. 91.) 

3. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 35—" An Act for granting a 
Bounty on the importation of Oats until 1st October, 1800." This 
Bounty to be under the management of the Commissioners of 

4. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 53 — "An Act for granting a 
Bounty on the importation of Rye until the 15th day of October, 
1800." Bounty to be regulated by the average price of rye. 

5. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 58 — " An Act for further con- 
tinuing and amending an Act made in the last session of parliament 
for enabling His Majesty to prohibit, the exportation and permit the 
importation of Corn ; and for allowing the importation of other 
articles of provisions without payment of duty." The Act to be 
continued for forty days after commencement of next session. 

6. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 91— "An Act to prohibit until the 
15th day of October, 1800, the exportation of Rice" (See cap. 22.) 
No rice was to be exported after 15th July this year. 

7. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 107 — " An Act to permit until 
six weeks after the commencement of the next session of parliament, 
the importation of Swedish Herrings into Great Britain." 

Same year, in the autumn session of parliament, there were 
enacted : — 

1. The 41 George III, cap. 1 — "An Act to prohibit until the 1st 
day of November, 1801, exportation oi Eice ; «&&. to VxAwsss&i *&. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Oontd. 





persons who have been concerned in the preventing the exportation 
thereof, or in the non performance of any contracts and agreements 
that shall not have been performed in consequence thereof." 

2. Here we have a more comprehensive measure than any of the 
preceding, as it applies to food generally. The 41 George III, cap. 2 
— " An Act to authorise His Majesty from time to time to prohibit 
the exportation of Provisions or Food." His Majesty was allowed 
by Order of Council, from time to "time to prohibit the exportation 
of any article used as food by man. There were certain exceptions 
not material to mention now. All such orders to be laid before 

3. The 41 George III, cap. 5 — " An Act for continuing, until the 
expiration of forty days after the commencement of the first session 
of parliament that shall be begun and holden after the 1st day of 
September, 1801, several laws relating to the prohibiting the expor- 
tation, and permitting the importation of Corn and other articles of 

Provisions, without payment of duty [See Table XIII] in 

that part of Great Britain called Scotland" 

4. The 41 George III, cap. 10 — " An Act for granting Bounties on 
the importation of Wheat, Barley, Bye, Oats, Pease, Beans, and 
Indian Corn, and of Barley, Bye, Oat and Indian Meal, and 
Wheaten Flour and Bice." The bounty was to be paid for grain 
imported between 1st December, 1800, and 1st October, 1801, in 
British vessels, or vessels belonging to States at amity with His 
Majesty. The bounties were to be regulated according to average 
price in Gazette ; and every corn factor in London or the suburbs 
was to make returns of prices and quantities of his purchases in 
forms provided uuder the Act. These to be sent to the lord mayor. 
This was a highly technical Act, consisting of 29 clauses and schedule. 

5. The 41 George III, cap. 11 — "An Act to permit, until the 1st 
day of October, 1801, the importation of Herrings and other Fish. 
The produce of the fishery carried on in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick % 
Newfoundland, and the coast of Labrador, into this Kingdom without 
payment of duty." 

6. The 41 George III, cap. 12 — " An Act *or making better pro- 
vision for the maintenance of the poor, and for diminishing the 
consumption of Bread Corn, by directing the manner of applying 
Parish Relief until the 6th day of November, 1801, and from thence 
until the end of six weeks after the meeting of the then next 
session of parliament." 

7. In the votes for supplies this year, 41 George III, cap. 14, was 
included one for 50,000^., for laying in stores of fish and distributing 
them throughout the kingdom. 

8. The 41 George III, cap. 18, authorising the importation of 
Swedish herrings into this kingdom until 1st October, 1801. 

9. The 41 George III, cap. 19 — " An Act to remove doubts arising 
upon the construction of an Act of this session of Parliament, inti- 
tuled [the 41 George III, cap. 10]." All grain was to be inspected 
to see if merchantable before bounty paid. 

Note. — As the result of the legislation of this year, we have here 

given sixteen separate measures relating to food supplies, and under 

several other tables (especially Nos. 10 and 13) will be found other 

enactments directly the result of the then system of legislating on 


There were several measures relating to food supplies enacted this 
session, the first of the parliament of the United Kingdom, which 
causes some confusion in the numbering of the Acts : we shall add 
" (United Kingdom) " after Acts of this session. 

1. The 41 George III, cap. 13 (United Kingdom)— " An Act for 
increasing the bounties granted \yj an. A&t of the last session of par- 

the World: Past and Present. 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 





liament, on Flour imported from America, in ships which shall have 
heen cleared out between certain periods." These bounties were on a 
sliding scale, regulated by the price of the grain. 

2. We have the new feature of granting bounty on fish. Thus, by 
41 George III, cap. 77 (United Kingdom) — " An Act for allowing 
until the 1st day of August, 1802, the importation of certain Fish 
from Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador, and for granting a 
bounty thereon." Salted salmon and cod might be imported by 
" British subjects," a bounty of 3*. per quintal or cwt. being paid. 
Acts for securing duty on salt not to be affected. 

3. The 41 George III, cap. 77 (United Kingdom) continued the 
several laws relating to encouraging the fisheries of Newfoundland, Sfc. 

4. The 41 George III, c. 99 (United Kingdom)— "An Act for 
granting bounties for taking and bringing Fish to the cities of 
London and Westminster, and other places in the United Kingdom, 1 * 
extended the system of bounties, which, however, were not to exceed 
500Z. to any one vessel, or 30,000k in the whole. An account to be 
laid before parliament. 

There were again several enactments on food supplies, two of which 
fall to be noticed in this table, viz. : — 

1. The 42 George III, cap. 13 — " An Act to continue until the 
1st day of January, 1803, and amend an Act of the 39th year of the 
reign of His present Majesty, for prohibiting the exportation and 
permitting the importation of Corn, and for allowing the importa- 
tion of other articles of provision without payment of duty ; and to 
continue for the same period an Act of the last session of parliament 
for prohibiting the exportation from Ireland of Corn and Potatoes, 
or other provisions, and for permitting the importation into Ireland 
of Corn, Fish, and provisions without payment of duty." Under 
which His Majesty in council might prohibit the exportation of any 
article of provisions. 

2. The 42 George III, cap. 35 — " An Act for regulating, until the 
15th day of February, 1803, the prices at which Grain, Malt, and 
Flour may be exported from Great Britain to Ireland, and from 
Ireland to Great Britain** The right to export or import being 
regulated by the prices, as ascertained according to 31 George III, 
cap. 30. 

This year produced several new measures, viz. : — 

1. The 43 George III, cap. 12 — " An Act to continue until the 
1st day of January, 1804, several, laws relating to the prohibiting 
the exportation and permitting the importation of Corn, and for 
allowing the importation of other articles of provision without pay- 
ment of duty." 

2. The 43 George III, c. 13 — "An Act to continue until the 
1st day of January, 1804, so much of an Act made in 41st year 
of the reign of His present Majesty, as relates to the prohibiting 
the exportation from Ireland of Corn and Potatoes, or other pro- 
visions, and for permitting the importation into Ireland of Corn, 
Fish, and provisions without payment of duty." 

3. Here we have a further refinement of legislation in the 
43 George III, cap. 14 — " An Act for continuing until the 1st day of 
July, 1803, an Act made in the 42nd year [42 George III, c. 35] ; 
and to permit from and after the passing thereof, until the said 
1st day of July, 1803, the exportation of Seed Com from Great 
Britain to Ireland, and the importation of Malt into Great Britain 
from Ireland." Seed corn, of British growth, might be exported 
from Great Britain to Ireland, in British or Irish ships, whatever 
might be the average price of corn ; with certain special regulations 
when the average price of corn should be higher than that at which 
corn was then allowed to be exported to \x*\iwi. 


Walpoed— On the Famines of 







Tablk X. — Restrictions on the. Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 

4. By 43 George III, cap. 68 — "An Act to repeal the duties of 
custom 8 payable in Great Britain, and to grant other duties in lieu 
thereof " — a slightly increased duty was imposed upon grain imported. 

5. And by another Act of the same session, 43 George III, cap. 70 
— " An Act for granting to His Majesty, during the present war and 
until the ratification of a definite treaty of peace, additional duties 
on the importation and exportation of certain goods, wares, and 
merchandise, and on the tonnage of ships and vessels m Great 
Britain," under which slightly additional duties were imposed on 
grain. See table at end of this table. 

6. By the 43 George III, cap. 78, the Acts of 42 George III, 
cap. 35, and 43 George III, cap. 14, were continued until 1st July, 

7. By 43 George III, cap. 105 — "An Act to permit the expor- 
tation, for two years, of a certain quantity of Corn, Grain, Meal, 
Flour, Bread, Biscuit or Pulse, to the Islands of Guernsey, Jersey and 
Aldrrnei/, from other Ports in England, as well as the Port of 
Southampton, under certain restrictions " — it is enacted that, while 
the places of shipment may be increased, the total quantity of 9,800 
quarters is not to be exceeded. 

1. By 44 George III, cap. 53 — "An Act for granting to His 
Majesty during the present war, and for six months after the 
expiration thereof by the ratification of a definite treaty of peace, 
additional duties on the importation of certain goods, wares, and 
merchandises into Great Britain, and on goods, wares, and mer- 
chandise brought or carried coastwise within Great Britain" — the 
increased duties on grain were considerable. See table at end. 

2. By 44 George III. cap. 4, the 39 George III, cap. 82, was 
further continued until 25th March, 1705. 

3. By 44 George III, cap. 109 — " An Act to regulate the importa- 
tion and exportation of Corn and the bounties and duties payable 
thereon," so much of the Act of 1791 as related to the prices at which 
corn might be exported or imported to Great Britain, Ac., was 
repealed, and new regulations as to the average prices at which 
importation and exportation should be permitted were enacted. This 
was not to extend to the intercourse of corn between Great Britain 
and Ireland. 

1 By 45 George III, cap. 29 — " An Act for granting to His Majesty 
additional duties within Great Britain on certain goods and mer- 
chandize imported into or brought coastwise " — a further addition was 
made to the duty on grain. See table. 

2. By 45 George III, cap. 63, the Act of 1803 (cap. 105) was made 

3. By 45 George III, cap. 86 — "An Act to explain and amend the 
Act made in the last session of parliament to regulate the importa- 
tion and exportation of Corn, and the bounties and duties payable 
thereou," some of the regulations of the Act of 1804 were repealed, and 
it was enacted that the importation and exportation of corn, Ac., into 
and from Great Britain should be regulated by the average prices of 
the twelve maritime districts of the east and west a* ascertained by 
the returns required by the Act of 1791. Orders in Council as to 
importation of corn from British colonies in America to continue in 
force for six months. 

1. By 46 George III, cap. 42 — " An Act for granting to His Majesty 
during the present war and for six months after the expiration thereof 
by the ratification of a definitive treaty of peace, additional duties 
on certain goods, wares, and merchandise imported into and exported 
from, or brought or carried coastwise within Great Britain ** — further 
additional duties were imposed upon grain imported, more especially 
when the price here did not exceed 6cs. ^er quarter. See table. 

the World : Past and Present 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 








2. By 46 George III, cap. 97-*" An Act to permit the free inter- 
change of every species of Grain between Great Britain and Ireland," 
it was recited, " Whereas it is expedient that the free importation and 
exportation of all corn and grain, meal, flour, bread and biscuit, reci- 
procally to and from Great Britain and Ireland should be allowed, 
and that all restraints, duties, and bounties relating thereto should 
cease ;" whereupon it was enacted that all bounties and duties payable 
on interchange of corn between these two divisions of the kingdom 
should cease. 

By 49 George III, cap. 98 — " An Act for repealing the several duties 
of customs chargeable in Great Britain, and for granting other duties 
in lieu thereof," under " corn," in the schedule of this Act was given 
the duties chargeable on each variety of grain imported, with a column 
of " temporary or war duty " in addition, ranging from 8*. $d. down 
to id. per quarter for wheat, and for other grain in proportion. 

A select parliamentary committee was appointed this year to inquire 
into the state of the laws affecting the corn trade. This committee 
recommended in its report (dated 11th May) a very great increase of 
the prices at which exportation was allowable, and when importation 
free of duty might take place. It will be seen by Table XI v that the 
home price of corn was now very high, and hence this committee 
exhibited a marked solicitude to exclude all foreigners from competi- 
tion with home growers. Parliament happily did not indorse this 

By 53 George III, cap. 33 — " An Act for granting certain additional 
duties of customs [on goods, &c] imported into, and exported from 
Great Britain " — a very considerable addition was made to the duty 
on imported grain when at prices not exceeding 655. here. See 
table at end of this table. 

This year a more enlightened policy was inaugurated in a series of 
resolutions voted by the House of Commons, declaring that it was 
expedient to repeal the bounty on exportation of grain, to permit 
the free exportation whatever might be the home price, and to impose 
a graduated scale of duties on the importation of foreign corn. Corn 
imported from Canada, or from the other British colonies in North 
America, only to pay half the duties of that from other places. Two 
Bills embodying these provisions were introduced to the House, but 
one only was passed, viz. : 54 George III, cap. 69 — " An Act to permit 
the exportation of Corn, Grain, Malt, and Flour from any part of 
the United Kingdom, without payment of duty or receiving of 
bounty." See 1827. 

By 55 George III, cap. 26 — " An Act to amend the laws now in force 
for regulating the importation of Corn," it is recited : " Whereas it 
is expedient to amend the laws now in force relating to the impor- 
tation of and trade in corn," and then enacted that foreign corn, 
meal, or flour might be respectively imported into the United 
Kingdom " for home consumption," under and subject to the provi- 
sions and regulations then in force, without payment of any duty, 
whenever wheat should be at or over 80*. per quarter, rye, peas, and 
beans, 50*., barley "bere or bigg" 40*., and oats zys. per quarter. 
There was, however, an exception in favour of the importation of 
corn, &c., from the " British Colonies in North America." From 
thence wheat might be brought in when the price was at or above 67*. 
per quarter, rye, pease, and beans, 44*-, barley, bere or bigg, 339., and 
oats, 228. per quarter. At other times, indeed, foreign corn, &c., 
might be brought in and warehoused ; but it could only be taken out 
of warehouse for consumption when the prices were at or above those 
stated. This was known as Mr. Robinson's Act. There was much 
public disturbance while the measure was before parliament. 

By 57 George III, cap. 27—" An Act for wgcn&&% \.Y& ta&&& *& 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 








customs on Buckwheat imported into this kingdom, and for granting 
other duties, until the 25th day of March, 1821, in lieu thereof " — 
the former duties were repealed, and instead thereof a new duty of 
io*. per quarter, irrespective of the price of the grain. This wheat 
might he warehoused, and duty paid when taken out for consump- 

By 1 and 2 George IV, cap. 87 — "An Act to repeal certain Acts, 
&c, for regulating the importation and exportation of Corn, Grain, 
Meal and Flour, into and from Great Britain, and to make further 
provisions in lieu thereof," the Acts of 1791, 1793, 1804, and 1805 
•were repealed, and a new mode of obtaining weekly returns of the 
price of corn from one hundred and forty-eight towns specified in 
the statute was enacted. This Act consisted of fifty sections. No 
ground corn (except wheat, meal, or flour and oatmeal), nor malt, 
to be imported. 

By 3 George IV, cap. 60 — " An Act to amend the laws relating to 
the importation of corn," an attempt was made to meet the rise or 
fall in prices of grain consequent upon importation and exportation 
under the previous Acts, more especially that of 1815. 

1. By 6 George IV, cap. 64 — " An Act to alter for one year, and 
until the end of the next session of parliament, the duty on Wheat, 
the produce of the British possessions in North America" under 
which all duties upon the same were suspended. 

2. The 6 George IV, cap. 65—" An Act to allow until the 15th day 
of August, 1825, the entry of warehoused Corn, Grain, and Wheaten 
Flour for home consumption, on payment of duty" — enacted that 
foreign corn warehoused before 13th May, 1822, and wheaten flour 
warehoused under 5 George IV, cap. 70, might be taken out for home 
consumption, at the times mentioned in the Act, notwithstanding the 
55 George III, cap. 26. 

3. By 6 George IV, cap. Ill — "An Act for granting duties of 
customs " — duties on buckwheat and Indian corn were imposed, viz., 
buckwheat 14*. per quarter, and Indian corn per scale. 

By 7 and 8 George IV, cap. 3 — " An Act to confirm an order in council 
for allowing the Importation of foreign Oats, Oatmeal, Rye, Pease 
and Beans ; to indemnify all persons who have advised or acted in 
execution of the same ; and to permit the importation of such 
articles until 15th February, 1827," we arrive at a more complete 
idea of the inextricable contusion which was resulting from modern 
attempts to regulate the price of food by Act of parliament. 

1. By 7 George IV, cap. 70 — " An Act to permit foreign Corn, 
Meal and Flour warehoused, to be taken out for home consumption, 
until the 16th day of August, 1836," and grain (although not 
admissible under 3 George IV, cap. 60), warehoused, &c, on or before 
2nd May, might be entered for home consumption, until 16th August, 
1826 j but not more than one-half might be entered before 1st July, 
1826 ; and not more might be entered after this day than was entered 
before it. 

2. By 7 George IV, cap. 71 — " An Act to empower His Majesty 
to admit foreign Corn for home consumption under certain liabilities 
until the 1st day of July, 1827, or for six weeks after the commence- 
ment of the then next ensuing session of parliament, if parliament 
shall not then be sitting." His Majesty by order in council might 
admit warehoused wheat or flour for home consumption on payment 
of such duty as shall be therein declared, as to what was warehoused 
before 2nd May ; duty not to exceed that paid by 3 George IV, 
cap. 60. 

By 7 and 8 George IV, cap. 57 — " An Act to permit until the 1st May, 
1828, certain Corn, Meal, and Flour to be entered for home consump- 
tion/' it was recited : 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 




35 •••• 



" Whereas it is expedient to permit for a limited time certain corn, 
grain, meal, and flour to be entered for home consumption, upon 
payment of the respective duties hereinafter mentioned, although 
such corn, grain, meal, or flour may not, at the time of such entry, 
be admissible for home consumption under the provisions of the laws 
now in force for regulating the importation of corn, or- may be 
admissible only on payment of higher duties." 

Thus when the price was 62*. and under 63*. per quarter, the duty 
was to be il. s. Sd.; and for every 1*. of advance in price* the duty 
was to be decreased 2*., until at the price of 729. the import duty 
would only be 1*. per quarter. But when the price was- under 62*., 
the duty was to be 1 1, zs. Bd. Barley and oats were regulated in a 
like manner. This was really a trial trip for the new sliding scale of 
1828. [The first " sliding scale " as to duties on grain was intro- 
duced in 1660.] 

In the same year there was enacted 7 and 8 Gteorge IT, cap. 58 — 
" An Act to make provision for ascertaining from time to» time the 
average price of British Corn," by which the Act of 1821 is. repealed 
(except in so far as it repealed the Acts named therein), and weekly 
returns of the prices of British corn were to be made from a long 
list of towns therein mentioned. A comptroller was to be appointed, 
and a deputy if necessary ; and an inspector and deputy in London, 
who were not to be millers or dealers. The average prices when 
ascertained as the Act directs were to be published in the London 
Gazette. The Act had forty- two clauses, with a full measure of 
penalties for non-compliance. 

By 9 George IY, cap. 60—" An Act to amend the laws relating to the 
importation of Corn — " there came into force what was long designated 
as the " sliding scale," whereby wheat was allowed to be imported 
from any foreign country on payment of a duty of il. 5*. %d. per" 
quarter, whenever the average price of all England was under 62*. 
and not under 61*. When the price was 62*. and under 63*., the 
duty was to be \l. 4*. Sd.; and thence it gradually reduced as the 
price rose, until it fell to 1*. when the average price was 73*. and 
upwards. A scale was also applied on the same principle for barley, 
oats, rye, pease, beans, meal, &c. This was the beginning of the end. 
This Act repealed the Acts of 1815, 1822, the second Act of 1827, 
and so much of the Act of 1825 as related to buckwheat and Indian 
corn. There was a special scale of duty for grain imported " from 
any British possession in North America, or elsewhere out of 
Europe," viz., when wheat was under 67*. per quarter, the duty was 
to be 5*. ; when above, 6d. Barley under 34*. per quarter, 2$. 6d. 
duty; above, 6d. Oats up to 25*. per quarter, 2*.; over, 6d. Bye, 
pease and beans up to 41*., duty 3*.; over, 6d. There were new 
regulations for ascertaining average prices. The Act consisted of 
forty-eight sections and a schedule. 

By 5 and 6 William IV, cap. 13 — " An Act to regulate the importation 
of Corn into the Isle of Man — " it is made manifest that whereas the 
produce of the Isle of Man could be imported into the United 
Kingdom without payment of any duty (and none of the many Acts 
recited had levied any duty upon foreign grain imported there), that 
a pretty brisk trade had resulted in the shape of importation to, and 
exportation from thence to other parts of the United Kingdom. This 
" weak place " was now stopped — the duties were extended to it. 

This year, on the 18th September, the Anti-Corn Law League, which 
sprang from various metropolitan and provincial associations, was 
founded in Manchester. Its first active supporters were Charles 
Villiers, Richard Cobden, John Bright, &c. 

By 5 and 6 Victoria, cap. 14 — " An Act to amend the laws for the 
importation of Corn " — the Act of 1828 "wa» te^sta^ «w&. tsto ^**- 


Walfoed— On the Famines of 





Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Grain — Contd. 

visions made in lien thereof. This was known as the u reduced 
sliding scale Act." The duty on wheat imported from any foreign 
country, when the price was under 50*. in the United Kingdom, was 
to be 1/., reducing is. as the price advanced up to 73*. and beyond, 
when the minimum duty of 1*. per quarter was reached. For barley 
when under 26*. a duty of 11*., reducing with the advance of price 
up to 37*., when 1*. minimum duty. Oats under 19*. duty of 8*., 
reducing with advance of price until 27*., when the minimum duty 
became 1*. For rye, peas, and beans under 304., duty 11*. 6d., 
reducing with increase of price to minimum of 1*. Meal, &c, cor- 
respondingly graduated. But when grain was imported from British 
possessions, wheat under 55*. paid a duty of 59., 58*. and upwards, 
1*. Barley under 28*., duty 2*. 6d. t graduated to 6d. when price 31*. 
and upwards. Oats under 22s., 2*. duty, graduated to 23*. when 
duty 6d. Bye, pease and beans, under 30*., duty 3*., graduating to 
34*., when duty 6d. Meal, Ac, correspondingly graduated. Addi- 
tional regulations as to corn returns ; officers of excise to act as 
inspectors; and where any foreign country should unfairly 
surcharge British vessels carrying grain, &c., Her Majesty might 
prohibit importation from such country. Accounts of corn im- 
ported, and of duty, and rates of duty, to be published monthly. 
An exception in favour of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge 
as to appointment and dismissal of inspectors of corn returns for 
those places (section 14). There were forty-five clauses and two 
schedules to this Act. 

The end was now near at hand. The failure of the potato crop in 
Ireland at this period lent a force to the free-trade movement in 
grain which years of mere controversial argument would not have 
given it ; and finally this year there was enacted : 

The 9 and 10 Victoria, cap. 22 — " An Act to amend the laws 
relating to the importation of Corn " — it was enacted that on and 
after 1st February, 1849, the duties upon all foreign corn imported 
into Great Britain and the Isle of Man should be as follows : — upon 
wheat, barley, bere or bigg, oats, rye, pease, and beans, 1*. per 
quarter ; and upon meal from any of the same ^\d. per cwt. But 
until that date the duty on wheat imported "from any foreign 
country " was to be as follows : when the average price under 48*., 
duty 105., decreasing as the price increased to 53*. and upwards, 
when the minimum duty of 4*. per quarter came into force. A 
similar scale of graduation for other kinds of grain. 

By 32 Victoria, cap. 14 — " An Act to grant certain duties of customs 
and inland revenue, and to repeal and alter other duties of 
customs and inland revenue " — under section 4 the duties and 
customs chargeable upon corn and meal in all its numerous varieties, 
including arrowroot, cassava powder, mandioca flour, hair powder, 
semolina, tapioca, vermicelli, &c., &c, were for ever swept away, 
as if in vengeance for the barbarities legislation in their assumed 
behalf had previously invoked. The remaining "shilling duty." 
on grain, left under the Act of 1846, was the principal item 
affected. So long as it remained, a host of vexations in regard 
to the food substances already named, and many others, still 
cropped up. The full measure of free trade in food was only now 

Note. — We have felt that the record of famine legislation could 
never be rendered complete by any means short of recording, as we 
have done, the titles and substances of the Acts enumerated in this 
and the preceding tables. What a mass of wasted legislative energy 
is here represented ; and now every line of it has been swept off our 
statute book ! — thanks to the labours of the Statute Law Revision 


the World : Past and Present. 




Table X. — Restrictions on the Export or Import of Oram — Contd. 

The following short summary of the effect of such of the statistics, in 
the preceding table, as make the duty payable on foreign wheat 
imported depend upon the price of wheat at home, will supplement 
the information in the table, which was often curtailed in view of 
space, and of preventing seeming repetition. 

Supplement to Table X. 


12 Car. II, c. 4.. 
22 „ c. 13 
9 and 10 Wm. m,l 

c. 23 

2 and 3 Anne, c. 9... 

Bates of Duty per Imperial Quarter on the Importation of Foreijju Wheat when 
the Price of British Wheat per Quarter was at 




3 „ 4 „ c. 5.. 

21 Geo. II, c. 2 . 
13 Geo. Ill, c. 43. 

s. d. 

- 4* 
16 6 











and 70. 

c. 25 
c. 66... 
c. 13... 
c. 30... 
c. 15... 
c. 68 

44 Geo. Ill, c. 53 







c. 109 
c. 29... 
c. 42... 
c. 98... 
c. 33... 
c. 26... 

3 Geo. IV, c. 60 j 

6 „ c. 65... 

7 „ c. 70... 
T7 and 8 Geo. IV, 
L c. 57 

9 Geo. IV, c. 60 
5 Vict., sess. 2, c. 14 





















8. d. 

- 4* 
16 6 

16 10* 

16 11* 

17 2* 
17 6f 

- 6ft 

- 6* 

- <* 














2 10ft 

2 10+J 

3 2|i 
31 3* 
31 10* 

33 llf 

34 4* 
40 9« 

prohi bited 

20 - 

tional for 
10 3* 
12 - 

34 8 

31 8 
17 - 

8. d. 

- 4* 
8 3 

8 7* 

8 8* 

8 ii* 

9 3* 

- <>& 

- 6* 

- H 

~ ^ft 

~ ^ft 

- 6* 

" 6» 

" 6** 

- 7f 
31 3* 
31 io| 

33 11* 

34 4* 
40 9#J 


pro hibited 

the first 
10 3! 
12 - 

24 8 

26 8 
12 - 

s. d. 

- 4* 
8 3 

8 7* 

8 8* 

8 11* 

9 3| 
" 6ft 

- 6* 

- H 
~ 6ft 
" 6^ 

- 6* 

- m 

- 6*i 







*. d. 

- 4* 
8 3 

8 7* 

8 8* 

8 11* 

9 3* 

" 6ft 

- 6* 

" H 

- 6ft 
" 6& 

- 6* 
" 6« 

- Hi 

- 7* 

- 7* 

- 7* 


'- 9« 












7* 8 7 * 










- 9» 

three m 
10 3* 
12 - 

14 8 

21 8 

7 - 


10 3i 
12 - 

4 8 

10 8 

4 ~ 





1 - 

1 - 
1 - 










- 4* 

- 4* 

- 8* 






1 - 

1 - 
1 - 


- 6* 

- 6* 

- 6* 

- 6* 

- 6* 

- m 

- m 

- n 

- n 

- n 

- 8f 

- 8i 



5 1* 

5 1* 

10 3J 

12 - 

1 - 

1 - 

1 - 

X. — Currency Restrictions. 

In my Table of Famines there are several attributed directly to 
the debasing of the coinage, more particularly those of a.d. 1124, 
1248, 1390, and 1586, while most authors who have written upon 
food supplies or upon prices, have laid great stress upon the effects 
of a restricted or abundant currency. Table XTV in tha present 
paper frequently attributes the high price of wheat to the scarcity 
of money. 

192 Walford— On the Famines of 

Aristotle, in his "Economics," written B.C. 350 (Book II, chapter 
24), gives an account of the manner in which Timotheus made a 
coinage of brass answer the purposes of his army until victory had 
secured a supply of silver from the conquered ; but I have no^been 
able to discover any analogy between the operation there described 
and the events which have occurred in our own country. 

There are indeed several obvious modes in which a debased 
coinage may operate to the disadvantage of its holders, more 
especially in times of scarcity. Internally, bread being in the 
ordinary way purchased with coinage of small value, which is very 
rarely debased, when, from scarcity, it rises to a price which calls 
arger coinage into play, if this latter shall have been unduly debased 
it will not realise its nominal value in the purchase of food. It has 
been with silver coinage of various denominations that the trouble 
has nearly always risen. Externally, a more obvious sense in which 
debased coin (silver or gold) may operate in periods of scarcity, is 
that its purchasing power in all external dealings is lessened 
not only in the degree to which it has been debased, but even 
to a greater extent by the prejudice, or want of confidence its 
known debasement has inspired. Thus a British merchant seeking 
to buy grain abroad, where the coinage value will have to be 
measured in relation to some coin of the country wherein the pur- 
chase is made, or in relation to the standard value of the precious 
metals in such country, it is certain that the coin tendered will only 
have a purchasing power in exact relation to its intrinsic character. 
This latter view leads at once to the consideration of the modes by 
which a currency may be debased. These are four : — 

1. By employing the smaller amount of pure metal in manu- 
facturing coin having a nominal fixed value — as for instance making 
208. currency out of silver of the value 1 55. only, or any sum less 
than the current denomination of the coin. 

2. By mixing an undue proportion of alloy (originally spelled 
allay) with the pure metal in any given class of coin, by which the 
weight is maintained, but the value deteriorated. 

These may be denominated the imperial mode of producing a 
debased coinage. They have each been adopted on many occasions 
in this country. 

3. By means of clipping, filing, drilling, sweating, and other- 
wise lowering the value of coin originally produced of the standard 

4. By counterfeiting, i.e., by making coin of inferior metals so 
as to pass current for those of ordinary value, a process which has 
been largely applied to our coinage on many occasions. These last 
divisions have each to be spoken of historically. 

First. Originally, as we all know, tha sum which we now call a 

the World : Past and Present. 193 

pound actually represented a pound troy, or 12 ozs. of standard 
silver, which latter consisted of 1 1 ozs. 2 dwts. of pure silver, and 
18 dwts. of alloy, so that il. paid in silver money would be one 
pound weight of standard silver. In the year 1087 this pound 
troy was divided into 20 shillings exactly ; by 1347 it was made 
into 22^ shillings, i.e., il. 2s. 6d. By the middle of the fourteenth 
century it was made into 255.; by 1412 into 325.; and ten years 
later, or by 1422, into 375. 6d. ; by 1505 into 40s. ; a few years 
after into 45s.; and by 1543 into 485. In another century no less 
than 725. were made out of the same weight of silver; and this 
was the highest point ever reached, i.e., the greatest measure of 
debasement (in this form) to which the English coin has ever 
been reduced. From this extreme, a few years later, the pound 
troy came to be coined into 605., and during the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries into 625. 

Second. The proportion of alloy remained precisely the same 
from the Conquest for a period of five hundred years, viz., down 
to 1532, viz., 18 dwts. to the pound of silver — this alloy being of 
tin, and was serviceable in hardening the coin, and hence of making 
it more durable ; but in 1543 — reign of Henry VIII — the propor- 
tion was increased to 2 ozs., so that in a pound weight of standard 
silver there was 10 ozs. only of pure silver but a few years later 
the standard was lowered to half alloy, i.e., 6 ozs. of pure silver, 
6 ozs. alloy ; and the worst had not yet come. During the greater 
part of the reign of Edward VI the proportion of pure silver was 
only one- third, viz., 4 ozs. against 8 ozs. alloy. After going up again 
to one-half in 1549 it descended in 1551 to one-fourth, i.e., 3 ozs. 
of pure silver to 9 ozs. of alloy. The ounce of standard silver thus 
became debased from $s. 2d., where it had remained until 1532, 
down to is. io%d. in 1548, and to is. 4ft?. in 1551, and in like 
manner the ounce of pare silver became increased from is. 9%d. 
in 1087 to 24s. in 1551. But we have seen in the previous para- 
graph that while all this debasement was going on, the pound of 
standard silver was all the time being coined into larger numbers of 
shillings, until at length in 1551 the shilling only weighed less than 
one- third of its original weight, and this reduced quantity of metal 
was only of one-fourth the purity of the original English coin. 
Herein is seen a twofold, nay, about a tenfold reason why the pur- 
chasing power of the coin should be of small avail in periods of 
emergency !* 

* I ought, as a matter of patriotism, to add that the standard of coin has been 
less degraded in England than in many, perhaps most, of the European nations. 
In France, the livre, or pound in tale contained in the reign of Charlemagne pre- 
cisely a pound weight of pure silver ; but, by successive degradations, it contained 
at the commencement of the French Revolution only one-sixth, ot «xL<ra&&&, <st tsut 

194 Walford— On the Famines of 

Happily we are left in no doubt regarding the facts here in- 
dicated. The mint has stood in relationship to the Crown as a 
department acting under well defined contracts from time to time 
renewed. These contracts have always defined the " standard " of 
silver to be employed in the coinage. Sir Charles Whitworth, M.P., 
whose name frequently occurs through this paper, and who was one of 
the highest statistical and financial authorities living in the last 
century, in the preparation of his " Inquiry into Prices " (published 
in 1768, without his name appended, but with the authorship well 
known) took the trouble to make reference to these mint indentures, 
and to ascertain the standards therein prescribed. From these, as 
his base, he deduced the following : — 

seventy-second part of a pound of silver. The Spanish maravedi, which in 1220 
weighed 84 grains of gold, and was worth about 14 shillings of our present money, 
has now become degraded into a small copper coin of the value of about one-sixth 
of the English penny ! But, as the Acts of Parliament say, in that part of the 
United Kingdom called Scotland, the pound weight of silver, which had previously 
to 1296 been coined into one pound, or 20 shillings, was in 1601 coined into thirty- 
six pounds, or 720 shillings. 

The depreciation of the currency is not, however, the only means by which 
rulers have in past times defrauded their subjects. The appreciation has some- 
times been quite as effective a weapon and has been used in modern times. The 
first instance of this kind which I find recorded occurred in Roman history. The 
Roman citizens being bound to pay into the Imperial treasury, not a certain weight 
of gold but a certain number of pieces of gold, or aurei, the Emperor Heliogabalus, 
whose vices have become proverbial, in order to increase his means of dissipation 
without appearing to add to the weight of the taxes, increased the quantity of 
metal contained in the aureus, thus obtaining by dexterity what he might never 
have obtained by open dealing. In this, however, he was probably only enlarging 
upon a hint obtained from Licinius, a freedman of Cesar's, who in his government 
of the Gauls under Augustus, divided the year into fourteen months instead of 
twelve, because the Gauls paid a certain monthly tribute! See Dion Cassias, 
lib. 72. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table Exhibiting the Standard Weight, Value and Comparative View 
of English Silver Money from WiUiam the Conqueror down to 1765. 

of the several 



'95 . 










Standard of the Silver 
at each Period. 

Fine Silver. 

oz8. dwts. 












4 - 

6 - 

3 - 

ii i 

n - 

II 2 


ozs. dwts. 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 

- 18 






Number of Shillings, 

&c., the 

Pound, or u ozs. Troy of 

Standard Silver, 

has been Coined into 

at each Period. 




- 18 






*5 - 

32 - 

io - 

37 6 

30 " 

37 © 

40 - 

45 - 

48 - 

48 - 

48 - 

72 - 

72 - 

60 - 

60 - 

60 - 

61 - 

Weight of 

Twenty Shillings 


Tale of Standard Silver 

at each Period. 



















6 16 
6 16 

3 17 10 

Note. — Mr. Tooke considers that from this date the intrinsic value of English 
coinage has substantially remained unchanged, "History of Prices," vol. ir 
(1857), p. 487. The table confirms this view ; but some of the works referred 
to in Table XI, convey a different impression. 


Walford— On the Famines of 

Table of the Standard Weight and Value of English Silver Money — Contd. 

of the several 












of Fine Silver 

contained in 

Twenty Shillings 

in Tale 
at each Period. 

ozs. dwts. grs. 
io 8 
II 2 
io 19 

9 l 1 




8 17 14* 

6 18 18 

7 8 - 
5 18 10 
7 8 - 

5 18 10 

5 " 
4 18 

4 3 
2 10 


1 13 8 

1 13 8 

- 16 16 

3 13 16 

3 13 8 

3 H " 

3 11 14* 

Value of the 


Twenty Shillings 

in Tale in our 
Present Money. 

£ s. d. 

2 18 14 

3 2- 
3 1 2| 
2 15 If 

2 9 7* 

1 18 9 

2 14 

1 13 -J 

2 14 

1 13 -J 

1 11 - 

1 7 6f 

1 3 3i 

- 13 lit 

- 9 3f 

- 9 3f 

- 4 71 
1 - 6* 
1 - 5f 


1 - - 


of Money at 


Period to 

oar Present 














I *oooo 


Value of the 

Ounce of 

Standard Silver, 

Present Money. 

*. d. 

5 2 

5 2 

5 2 

5 2 

5 2 



5 2 

5 2 

5 2 

4 7* 
2 9* 

1 10f 





5 2 

5 2 

Value of the 

Ounce of 

Fine Silver, 

each Period. 

8. d. 
1 lit 

1 9* 

1 !! 

2 -t 

2 iot 
* 8t 

3 4* 
2 8t 

3 4* 

i 7i 

4 -I 

4 9* 

8 - 

12 - 





5 7 

From this valuable table we learn not only the facts I have 
already recited, but may of others of the first importance in 
estimating the depreciation to which our silver coinage has been 

It must be distinctly understood that the only values in this 
paper which have been adjusted in conformity with the silver 
values here indicated are those in column 3 of Table XIV. It has 
been essential in quoting Acts of Parliament and other public 
documents, to adhere to the exact prices they furnish ; but when 

the World : Past and Present. 197 

such prices are brought into comparison over a long series of years, 
then they require to be adjusted in the light of the variations in the 
value of the currency which has occurred during the period under 

Third. In considering the question of clipping of coin, which 
prevailed so extensively during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and 
fifteenth centuries, we must carry our minds back to the form of 
the coinage, more particularly of the silver coinage, during that 
period. It was produced from strips of metal cut from the sheets 
into which it had been moulded after leaving the melting-pot. 
These strips or thin bars were cut with shears into pieces of exact 
weights, according to the denomination of coin intended. These 
square pieces were formed into a round shape by a hammer, after 
which they were made white by boiling ; lastly, they received an 
impression from a hammer, and were then put in circulation. 

It is easy to understand how these hand-made coins might be 
cut down and hammered out so as to approximate to the original 
size, which was the usual guide in ordinary dealings, and it was 
only when they were brought together in the mass and placed in 
the scales that their real deficiencies became known. 

Filing and drilling were usually applied to the larger silver 
coins, and occasionally to those of gold, and very considerable 
depreciation may be effected without altering the general appearance. 

The sweating process is usually applied to gold coinage only. 
It consists in putting a number of new coins into a bag and 
moving them rapidly, the friction causing minute particles to 
come off, which are aggregated by consuming the bag in the 

The producing of coins with raised milled edges — a most 
effective protection against clipping — is usually attributed to 
Cromwell, during the Protectorate, 1653-58, but it is certain that 
some were put in circulation by Henry VII ; see Table XI, date 
1503 (19 Henry VII, cap. 5). 

Fourth. The counterfeiting of coins is simply a matter of 
mechanical ingenuity, and the rougher the original manufacture 
the more easily the process of imitation. The difficulty always lies 
in passing the counterfeit coin into circulation. But in early times, 
before bills of exchange came into practice in this country, and 
before banks were known, our dealings with foreign countries 
were necessarily through the medium of coin. Foreign merchants 
seeking to buy wool, woollen cloths, or other merchandise here, 
brought over the coin of their own or of some other country to 
present in payment. Our merchants going over to the continent to 
purchase grain, took our coinage with them for the purpose of 
making payment. Thus the coinage of all t\& toadliu^ Tft&sra^ 

198 Walford — On the Famines of 

became common in each, and the facilities for counterfeiting were 
multiplied in like proportion. 

Coinage generally. — In order that the full measure of coinage 
complications through which this country has passed may be 
comprehended in all its bearings, I have had recourse to the statute 
book, and for a period of fully five centuries there is here exhibited 
such a record of struggles and defeats as could be accurately 
pourtrayed by no mere method of verbal description. For the first 
three centuries of this period there was a bond fide struggle to 
keep -up the purity of the coin ; for the next two the struggle was 
to keep up the nominal value, while tie actual value was being 
rapidly debased. 

It is more than probable that the high standard our coin main- 
tained in the early period caused it to be sought after largely on 
the continent of Europe, and hence its frequent scarcity at home. 
The countries of the continent sent us an inferior standard of 
coinage, which for a time did duty here, but for purposes of 
external dealings could never be made fully available by us. 

In order to elucidate the effects of a depreciated currency upon 
our food supplies, I have quoted from authors of acknowledged 
authority. Frequently the legislation of the period confirms their 
surmises and conclusions ; but occasionally the very opposite 
appears to be the case. I have not attempted to harmonise such 

The difficulties appeared to lessen gradually from the early part 
of the eighteenth century — reign of Queen Anne — but I have 
continued my Table XI up into the present century, as illustrating 
currency effects upon several of our later famine periods, and I 
have made very especial reference to the use of tokens as tending to 
elucidate the sufficiency, or otherwise, ©f the currency at different 

The latest instance of a scarcity of coin producing a famine is 
that of Ireland, and we quote the words of Mr. Delahunty (the 
member for Waterford), as given in the "Times, ,, 21st March, 1878, 
debate on Money Laws (Ireland) Bill. " In Ireland, in 1822 and 
1823, the banks failed, and the result was that fanning stalked 
through the land, and provisions could be had for half the price they 
previously fetched. (A laugh.) The people starved because the 
circulating medium did not exist, and there was no employment." 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XL — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise, especially 
including Debasing the Coin, whereby either Direct or Indirect Influences 
bearing upon the Price and Supply of Provisions have been brought into 


55 to 
A.D. 449 

827 to 

*B*7 •••• 

55 .... 

'80 .... 

1202 .... 

16 .... 

'27 .... 

'60 .... 
55 .... 

»72 .... 

The Romans coined money at Camalodunum (Colchester). This was 
the first money in the British Isles. 

The Anglo-Saxons coined silver ; and it has been supposed that they 
had a copper coinage also. 

" The coin was observed to be greatly clipped, from whence every kind 
of provision became so dear that multitudes perished." — SiB Chables 
Whitwobth, M.P. 

" All the great men of the realm, the bishops, earls, and barons, coined 
their own monies ; this increased the price of provisions ; and was 
attended with many impositions and losses to the nation in general ; 
but more especially to the trading portion."— Sib Chables 

Henry II repaired the coin, and ordered that his money only should 
be current in the kingdom. 

The king again called in the debased coin. 

The current coin was again debased. 

Coin was made sterling at this date ; previously rents were mostly paid 
in kind ; and money was found only in the coffers of the barons. — 

" The pope having extorted great sums of money from the English 
clergy, it is probable as the coin of the kingdom became scarce, the 
price of provisions could not rise." — Sib Chables Whitwobth. 

" The current coin being egregiously clipped, so that without any other 
reason assigned we find wheat and prices consequent of a famine." — 
Sib C. Whitwobth. 

" About this time money was so shamefully clipped, that by an order it 
was enjoined to be taken only by weight ; which order (it's said) pro- 
duced a great obstruction to trade for some time." — John Smith's 
" Memoirs of Wool," &c. 

" The extortions of the pope, and the sums obtained by the Earl of 
Cornwall, raised the interest of money to $ol. per cent. It was 
computed they took of the kingdom 2,170,000/. in real specie, for 
paper currency was then unknown : this occasioned a general decay 
of trade; which was aggravated by a famine." — Sib Chables 

Some 280 Jews were executed for clipping the current coin of the realm. 

The statuta de moneta (statutes concerning money) is attributed to this 
date, 20 Edward I, and contains the following : — 

" Against the perils and damages which are of late come, and which 
hereafter may come of the money of England. It is thus ordained, 
that it be cried and defended on the king's behalf throughout the 
whole realm, in all the merchant towns, that no men upon grievous 
forfeiture be so hardy to dispend, receive, or send money of other 
coin than of the coin of the king of England, Ireland, and 
Scotland. ... 

" And also that it be cried and commanded on the king's behalf, 
that if any find money coined of any other coin than that of the coin 
of the king of England, Ireland, or Scotland, or clipped money, that 
he break the same ; and that none be so hardy to gainsay the same 
upon pain of grievous forfeiture ; and he which findeth the same 
false, shall break the. same, the broken money shall be given to him 
which oweth it, and the false money shall be pierced without 
restoring it ; and the body of him in whose hands the false or clipped 
money appeareth to be found, be taken and holden until such tune 
as he can find surety, if he be a suspicious man. 

And because that many of the poox and xuto. \*«\^fc cam&a^OE&syw 



Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 




the light and clipped money from the other, now it is ordained, that 
hereafter he which ought to receive or pay money, shall receive and 
pay the same hy weight of v. s. of even weight by the tumbrel, 
delivered by the warden of the exchange marked with the king's mark 
as the measures are ; and it shall be lawful to any man to pierce the 
money which shall not pass the tumbrel ; and the money of other 
coin than of the coin of the king of England, Ireland, and Scotland, 
the weight shall be as well delivered and marked by the warden of 
the exchange, as the tumbrel. 

" The viewer and the warden of the money which shall come from 
beyond the sea, when he shall have any, he shall have regard unto 
the age thereof, and shall weigh the same. And if he find of the 
new money, that the pound weigheth not xx's, by the number of 
iiij pence, then he shall have regard by the tumbrel where the 
default shall be ; and if there be money which is much used, if in the 
whole pound of xx's, it want but vjd, then it shall be delivered to 
him who bought the same without gainsaying ; and if it want more, it 
shall be done of them as of the rest. And let the warden aforesaid 
take good heed that he take no gift nor allowance to spare any one, 
nor make any extortion, nor give any manner of delay, as he will save 
himself and his goods. 1 ' 

The following clauses, although usually printed in this same statute, 
are believed really to belong to another, probably of later date (say 
Edward II) ; but it is convenient to take them next : — 

" These be the things which arise on this side of the sea and on the 
other, to the great damage of our lord the king and of his people, to 
the great corruption of his money of England. 

" First, they make there abroad, a money of silver, with a mitre ; 
20*., of which money weighs only 1 6s. \d. of the money of England. 

" Also they make two other sorts of money with lions, whereon 
there are heads on the one money, and not on the other, but which are 
as light as the money with the mitre. 

" Also they make as well on this side of the sea as on the other, a 
sort of false money, which is merely of copper, and is wightened, and 
when it is new it resembles the money of England. 

" There is also another sort of money which is made in Germany, 
under the name of Edward, king of England, which weighs as little 
as, or less than, the money with the mitre, and that cannot be 
distinguished, unless it be by weight. 

" The other deceit which they make in the money is, that there are 
some who bring plates of pewter, or of lead, in the form of a penny, 
then they put them between two leaves of silver, and afterwards 
insert them into coin or into copper, when another penny well forged 
hath been struck. 

" Others, as well on this side the sea as on the other, do clip the 
good and lawful money to the damage of the whole community. 
Those moneys which are made and clipped out of England are 
brought by passengers, and especially by merchants. And because 
they know that search is made for them at Dover, they put them 
into cloths and bales j then they come not to Dover or Sandwich, but 
they come to London or into Essex, or into Suffolk, or into Norfolk, 
or to Hull, or into Lindsay, or to some other ports of England, 
where they expect to find no hindrance ; the which things if they 
should be long permitted to be so would bring the money of England 
to nothing." 
Edward I " caused the wooll and leather to be stayed in England, and 

there followed great dearth of corne and wine." — Pbnkethman. 
" Much base money was current. Trade was in great decay. The king 
. ordered new monies to be coined, and half-pence of silver." — 
/ Sir Charles 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XI. — Cwrrency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 





Accordingly this year there was enacted the 27 Edward III — 
" A statute concerning false money " — which recites : 

" Whereas our kingdom and the other lands of our sovereignty are 
filled with divers bad monies known by the names of pollards and 
crockards, and by other names, which are brought and left in the 
said kingdom and elsewhere within our jurisdiction by divers persons 
coming from abroad, and therein diversely dispersed, to the great 
damage of our people." It is then enacted that henceforth such 
"monies shall not be imported under forfeiture of life and goods ; and 
" Forasmuch as this ordnance cannot avail if it be not well main- 
tained ; it is ordained that good and strict watch be kept in all 
places upon the open coast, at the ports and elsewhere, where there 
is any coming from abroad, by good and lawful sworn men, who 
shall arrest those who bring such or other bad monies, together with 
the monies and everything belonging to them." These officers were 
known as " wardens of the ports." It is further recited : " Whereas 
we have been informed that the good sterling is counterfeited in 
foreign parts with base and false metal, to the great damage of our 
realm aforesaid;" persons bringing " stirlings " from abroad were 
to deliver them up to the wardens to be assayed, " and the said 
wardens shall also send their bodies with the money, safely and 
courteously." If money good, to be given up and persons released ; 
if bad, money and bodies to be retained at " our pleasure." 

In confirmation, part of the palace of Westminster being 
destroyed by fire, a parliament was held by Edward I, in the house 
of Henry Wallis, mayor of London, at Stebenheth, " when crockards, 
pollards, and rosaries coyned in foreign parts beyond seas, and 

jittered for sterlings, were cried down." — Stow's English Chronicles. 

By 5 Edward II, cap. 30, it is enacted, " Forasmuch as at all times 
when an exchange of money is made in the realm, the people are 
greatly aggrieved in many manners, we do ordain that when need be, 
and the king willeth to make an exchange, that he do it by the 
common council of his baronage, and that in parliament." 

To this year, 12 Edward II, is attributed the following : " Edward, by 
the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of 
Aquitaine, to the sheriff of Lincoln, greeting : Because that strange 
merchants, and also some merchants denizens of our realm, from day 
to day bring into the same our realm, from the parts beyond the sea, 
our money clipped, and other money of divers coins counterfeited 
and mingled with our money, trafficking and buying with the same 
money, to the great loss of us and all our people, and also the sub- 
version of all our money. We hereupon willing to provide a 
remedy, unless peradventure by longer sufference a greater danger 
might ensue, command you that in your full county, and in all your 
cities and merchant towns of the same county, you do cause strictly 
to be forbidden and openly proclaimed, that no strange merchant, 
nor any other from henceforth, bring into the realm any such money 
of ours rounded [clipped], or any other counterfeited of strange 
coins, or else use the same in buying or trafficking ; and if they do, 
at the first time wherein they shall be taken therewith, they shall lose 
such rounded money, or any other counterfeit; and if they shall 
be again found in the like offence, they shall lose such money and 
other goods found with them ; and if the third time they commit 
the like offence, and be taken therewith, their bodies and also all their 
goods and chattels shall be forfeited unto us. But others who shall 
not be merchants, and shall have such rounded money, or other 
counterfeit money, shall presently pierce the same and send it to our 
exchange to be new coined under our coin ; or otherwise in whose 
hands such money shall be found, the same shall be unto us wholly 
forbidden. Provided moreover that all pennies oi moras^ &y^& *st 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1319 .... counterfeited, when by forfeiture of others the same shall come to 
our hands, shall be in like manner pierced and sent to our exchequer. 
Witness the king at York, the 2nd day of February. By the 
'23-24 By the " Assise of Weights and Measures/' attributed to this date, it 
was enacted — 

" By consent of the whole realm the king's measure was made so 
that an English penny, which is called the sterling, round without 
clipping, shall weigh 32 grains of wheat, dry in the midst of the 
ear. 20 pence make an ounce and 12 ounces make a pound." 
[Note — " London to wit, 20 shillings of sterlings."] 
It was the silver penny obviously which is here referred to. 
" By the same statute it was enacted that 7 pounds made a gallon 
of wine ; 8 gallons of wine make a bushel of London, which is the 
eighth part of a quarter." [Note — " And 12 pounds and a-half make 
the stone of London."] 

Here is an indication alike as to money and measures that the values 
relate to London ; but as to money, it seems to have been intended 
that the statute should apply to the entire kingdom. 
'35 .... The 9 Edward III, statute 2, cap. 1, enacted as follows : — 

" Edward, by the grace of Gk>d, King of England, &c., to tlje 
sheriffs of York, greeting : Because we have perceived that divers 
people beyond the sea do endeavour themselves to counterfeit our 
sterling money of England, and to send into England their weak 
money, in deceit of us, and damage and oppression of our people, if 
remedy be not provided ; we willing to prevent and let all such 
deceits, damages, and oppressions, and to this that our good money 
be increased in our realm, and other countries within our power, to 
the profit of us and our subjects ; by the assent of the prelates, 
earls, barons, and other great men of our realm, at our parliament 
holden at York, the morrow of the Ascension last passed, there 
assembled, have ordained and established these things ensuing in the 
manner underwritten : 

" I. First. It is provided that from henceforth no religious man 
[pilgrim], nor other shall carry any sterling out of the realm of 
England, nor silver plate, nor vessel of gold, nor of silver, upon pain 
of forfeiture of the money, plate, or vessel that he shall so carry 
without our especial license. 

" II. Item — That no false money or counterfeit sterling be 
brought into the realm, nor elsewhere within our power, upon 
forfeiture of such money. 

" III. Item — That no sterling halfpenny nor farthing be molten for 
to make vessel or any other thing by goldsmiths nor others, upon 

forfeiture of the money so molten 

"IV. Item — That all manner of blank money which hath been 
commonly current of late in our realm and obseisance, be utterly 
excluded, so that none such shall be current after a month next 
after the cry thereof made, upon pain of forfeiture of the same 



Item — That the vizors and bailiffs of every port where 
merchants and ships be, shall take the oath of the merchants and 
masters of the ships going and coming again, that they shall do no 
fraud against this provision in any point." 

Searchers were to be appointed at the ports of the kingdom to 
guard against the carriage of money or plate from out the kingdom. 

In 1336 the complaint of a scarcity of money was so great that the 
king was allowed to export 20,000 sacks of wool to Flanders, the value 
of which was 91 8,000 J. — Sib Chaeles Whitwoeth. 
In 17 Edward III, it was enacted as follows : — 

i( Item — It is accorded to make money of good sterling in England of 

the World : Past and Present 


Table XL — Cwrrency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 








the weight and allay of the ancient sterling, which shall be current 
in England between the great men and the commons of the land, and 
the which shall not be carried out of the realm of England in any 
manner, nor for any cause whatsoever; and in case that the 
Flemmings will make good money of silver groats, or other, 
according in allay with good sterling, that such money shall be 
current in England between merchant and merchant and others who 
of their own accord will receive the same ; so that no silver be carried 
out of the realm." 

By 13 Edward III, statute 2, cap. 6, it was enacted : — 

" Item — That no man be compelled to take the new money of gold 
and silver which our lord the ting hath ordained, to go in payment 
at a certain price, within the sum of zos. And also that money of 
gold and silver be made in the city of York, and elsewhere, where the 
king will it ordain, in the manner as it is made in the Tower of 
London ; and exchanges shall be ordained in the great towns, accord- 
ing as it best shall seem to our sovereign lord the king, for the "profit 
of him, and ease of his people. And that it be ordained in a 
certainty, what thing shall be given in exchange for every piece of 

In conformity with the preceding statute, the king, by advice of his 
council, commanded florins of gold to be coined, to pass for 6s., half 
florins for 3*., and quarter florins for 1*. 6d. money of that time. 
" But Edward aiming at too much profit, had set too high a value 
upon these pieces, which prevented their currency. To remedy this, 
he coined that same year, nobles, half nobles, and farthing nobles — 
the noble to pass for 6s. $d., and the gold of the first coinage to be 
brought to the mint, and sold for its real value. In the first coinage 
a pound of gold was rated at 1 5Z. of silver, in the second at only 
13Z. 3*. \d. The noble was so called either on account of its value 
and beauty — being the largest and finest then known — or on account 
of the honourable occasion on which it was struck, the great naval 
victory over the French, obtained by Edward in person in 1340 ; for 
on that coin Edward appears completely armed, in a ship, with a 
naked sword in his right hand. These nobles, half and quarter nobles, 
continued to be the chief gold coins to the end of the fourteenth 
century." — Wade's British History. 

" Edward III made a material alteration in the state of the coin, by 
commanding 22s. 6d. to be coined out of the Tower pound of silver. 
By this regulation the weight of the silver penny, which was still the 
largest real coin, was reduced from 22\ to 20 troy grains, and the 
pound to 51*. $d. of our money." — Wade's British History. 

" The king made a still greater change this year by coining silver groats 
and half groats, the groats weighing 72 troy grains ; and 60 of these 
groats made a nominal pound sterling, and containing therefore a 
restricted value as against earlier periods, being about as much silver 
as 4.6s. 6d. of our present money." — Wade's British History. 

By the 25 Edward III, statute 5, cap. 2, in an enumeration of the 
offences which are to be adjudged treason, is this : " And if a man 
bring false money into this realm, counterfeit to the money of 
England, as the money called Lushburgh, or other like to the said 
money of England, knowing the money to be false, to merchandise or 
make payment in deceit of our said lord the king and of his people." 

By 25 Edward III, statute 5, cap. 13, it was enacted : — 

" Item — It is accorded that the money of gold and silver which now 
runneth shall not be impaired in weight or allay ; but as soon as a 
good way may be found, the same shall be put in the ancient statute 
as in sterling." 

By the " Ordinance of the Staples," 27 Edward III, statute 2, cap. 15, 
it was enacted : — 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 





'90 — 

" Item — We have ordained, that all merchants, privy and strangers, 
may safely carry and bring within our said realm and lands, plate of 
silver and billets of gold, and all other manner of gold, and all money 
of gold and silver to our bullion and our exchanges, which we shall 
cause to be ordained at our said staples, or elsewhere, taking the 
money for our coin of gold and silver conveniable to the value ; and 
if any will take good money of gold and silver of other coin than 
ours in payment, he shall take the same without impeachment, so 
that none be thereunto compelled if he will not take it of his good- 

" Provided always, that no money have common course within our 
said realm and lands, but the money of gold and silver of our coin ; 
and that none carry out of our said realm and lands the old sterling 
nor other money but our new money of gold and silvery except the 
merchants strangers, that bring to our said realm and lands any 
manner of money, and will not employ this money within our realm 
and lands ; whom we will that they may recarry into their country 
all this money, or so much as shall remain thereof not employed 
without impeachment." 

Search was to be made at the ports " to the intent that no merchant 
shall carry more beyond the sea than he brought into the same realm 
and lands." 
By 47 Edward III, cap. 2, it was enacted as follows : — 

" Item— For that the people of Scotland by their subtlety have 
drawn the good silver money out of England, and have made their 
coin of less value than the money of England is, and so it passeth in 

Sayment in the said realm of England, to the great damage and 
eceit of the king and of the great men and of all the commonalty. 
It is ordained and accorded that the Scotch groat shall be current of 
the value of iijrf. \_$d.~] and of less money according to the quantify ; 
and if per case this Scottish money be impeired, the money so 
impeired shall be set at a less price, after the quantity of the impeiring." 
(See further 1390.) 
By 5 Richard II, cap. 2, it was enacted : — 

" Item — For the great mischief which the realm suffereth, it long 
hath done, for that gold and silver, as well in money, vessel, plate, 
and jewels, as otherwise by exchanges, made in divers manners, is 
carried out of this realm, so that in effect there is none thereof left, 
which thing if it should longer be suffered would shortly be the 
destruction of the same realm, which God prohibit ; it is assented 
and accorded, and the king enjoineth all manner of people, merchants, 
clerks, and others, as well strangers as denixens, of what estate or 
condition they be, upon pain of as much as they may forfeit, that 
none of them upon the said pain, privily nor openly, send nor carry, 
nor cause to be sent or carried out of the said realm, any gold or 
silver in money, bullion, plate, or vessel, neither by exchanges to be 
made, nor in other manner. 

" Except for payment of king's forts beyond the sea, and by the 
king's license by exchanges in England to pay beyond sea." 

No person (with certain specified exceptions) was to depart out of 
the kingdom without the king's license, and then only at certain 
specified ports. 
By 14 Richard II, cap. 12, a further abatement was made in the value 
of Scotch money as follows : — 

u Item — That the groat of the money of Scotland run in the value 
of onlv zd. English : and the half groat of Scotland, of a penny 
English ; and the penny of Scotland, of a half -penny EwgKnh ; *nd 
the half-pennv of Scotland, of a farthing English. And if the 
money of Scotland be impaired, that the value thereof be abridged 
after the rate, and that wmmjaafina be wade through, the realm to 

the World : Past and Present. 


Tabljc XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 

USWj •••• 



'02 .... 

inquire of them that have brought or sent the money of England 
into Scotland, to make bullion or money of Scotland, in prejudice 
and damage of the king and his realm." 
The 17 Richard II, cap. 1, after reciting the 9 Edward III, statute 2, 
cap. 3, against melting of money, extended that statute to groats and 
half -groats, and then proceeded : — 

" And moreover it is ordained and assented that no gold nor silver 
of Scotland, nor of other lands beyond the sea, shall run in any 
manner of payment within the realm of England, but shall be 
brought to the bullion, there to be molten into the coin of England, 
upon pain of forfeiture of the same, and of imprisonment, fine, and 
ransom of him which doth contrary ; and that no man shall send 
any English money into Scotland, to change the same in money, or 
for money of Scotland, upon the pain next aforesaid." 
The 2 Henry IV, cap. 5, after reciting the 5 Richard III, statute 2, 
cap. 1, touching the exporting of gold and silver, proceeds : — 

" Our lord the king, for to prevent the subtilty of them that will do 
fraud, or deceit to him in this behalf, hath ordained and established 
that if from henceforth any searcher of the king may find gold or 
silver in coin, or in mass, in the keeping of any that is passing, or 
upon his passage, in any ship or vessel to go out of any port, haven, 
or creek of the realm, without the king's special license, all that gold 
and silver shall be forfeited to the king, saving his reasonable expenses, 
which he shall be obliged to confess, and discover presently after, that 
he is warned and charged to do so by the same searcher, or else all the 
said money so concealed shall be forfeit to the king. Provided 
always, that the merchant strangers that do sell their merchandise 
within the realm of England ; and the one half of the money of 
England received for the same merchandises, do employ upon other 
merchandises of the realm, may freely carry out from the same the 
other half of the said money by the king's license, according to the 
statute thereof made" 

This somewhat obscure passage means that foreign merchants 
selling say zool. of goods, might carry out goods of the value of iool., 
and the other iooI. in coin, upon the king's license. It then 
proceeds : — 

" Item — for the great deceit that is in this money of gold and 
silver of Flanders and Scotland, that doth commonly run in payments, 
made in payments, made in divers parts of the realm, to the great 
damage of the king and his people ; It is ordained and established, 
that all the money of gold and silver of the coin of Flanders, and of 
all other lands and countries beyond the sea, and also of the land of 
Scotland, shall be voided out of the realm of England, or put to coin 
to the bullion within the said realm, betwixt this and the feast of 
Christmas next ensuing, upon pain of forfeiture of the same ; and 
that all the merchants and others of Calais, which do receive any 
such gold or silver of the coin of Flanders or of other lands and 
countries beyond the sea, or of the land of Scotland, shall post the 
same to bullion at Calais, without bringing it in coin within the 
realm of England." 

Search was to be made at Calais, as well as on this side of the sea. 
By the 4 Henry IV, cap. 10, it was enacted : — 

" Item — For the great scarcity that is at this present within this 
realm of England of half -pence and farthings of silver, it is 
ordained and established, that the third part of all the money of 
silver which shall be brought to the bullion, shall be made in half- 
pence and farthings ; and that of this third part, the one-half be 
made in half -pence, and the other half in farthings ; and the same 
to do and perform the coiner shall be sworn in special; and that 
no goldsmith nor other person, whosoever he may. be, canab Vy \» 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XL — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 



•07 .... 




molten any such half-pence or farthings, upon pain to pay to the 
king the quatroble of that which so shall be molten against the form 
of til is statute." 

The btvsc coin imported from G-enoa was prohibited. 

By the 11 Henry IV, cap. 5, it was enacted as follows : — 

" Item —Because that gaily half -pence do commonly run in this 
realm for payment, in derogation of the king's crown, and in great 
deceit of tho common people, it is ordained and established that the 
•aid galley half-pence shall never be current in payment nor in other 
manner within the realm of England, upon pain of forfeiture thereof. 
And moreover that the gaily half-pence in whose hands soever they 
bo found within the realm, shall be forfeit to our sovereign lord the 
king, alter the two months next ensuing the proclamation of this 
statute} and also the same our lord the king will, that all the 
statutes or ordinances made before this time by him, or by his noble 
progenitors, not repealed, as well of the money of Scotland, as of 
the money of other realms and parts beyond the sea, be holden 
and kept* and put in due execution." 

The statute of 1409-10, as to gaily half-pence, confirmed by 
13 Heury IV, cap. 6. 
New money was coined. 

By 3 Henry VI [cap. 1] it was enacted : — 

" That gaily naif-pence, and the money called suskin and dotkin, 
and all manner of Scottish money of silver, small be utterly put out 
and not be current hereafter for any payment in the realm of 
England* Joined to the same, that proclamation be made through 
all the counties of England within franchises and without [within 
cities and boroughs], and elsewhere, that all that have gaily half- 
pence* suskins and dotkins, shall bring them to the King's Exchanges 
betwixt this and the feast of Easter next ensuing, there to be broken, 
and that that is found good silver, there to be striken and coined in 
English half pence."* 

And all thev that offended against this statute were to be deemed 
felon* j with further provisions for discovery, &e. 

The 4 Henry V* cap. & is as follows : — 

" Item — Because that before this time great doubt and ambiguity 
hath been, whether that clipping, washing, and filing of the money 
of the Uud» ought to be judged treason, or not. Forasmuch as no 
nieution thereof is made in the declaration of the articles of 

41 JC»*/* fbvtotty**. — The origin of these King's Exchanges has quite a little 
bistort v and date* tack to Kdward III. It was at this period no easy matter 
•ometuue* to exchange gold and silver coins for each other; and therefore 
tidw*rd> and afterwards several of his successors* took the office of exchangers 
into their own hand** as well to prevent extortion as far their own advantage. 
They performed it by appoiutiug certain persons* furnished with a competent 
^hantit v of coin* in UuuHtti and other towns ; these to be the only exchangers of 
ttotteVv at n\ed rates, these royal exchangers had ateo the exclusive privilege 
of gmug the current coin* of the kingdom* in exchange for foreign coin, to 
ao\vttu*odate merchant strangers : as also of purchasing fcght money for the use 
of the Hunt We have seen that several law* were in force against exporting 
Ihttfoh coi*. The King* Exchangers at the several ports furnished merchants 
ajad other* who w*ro going abroad with the coin of the countries to which they 
**** ¥*^k ** * vv ^*"i* ^ tinghtfh wtott#y. acvvrviing to a table which hung up 
feh their o&v (or )»thhc u**^ctto*t- $y these various operations they made 
^ Hwfr hr aM* ^^K el which the ki*g Wl a share. The bouse in which the 
Hk^MsA l^h***** ke^t h* s Mftc* w** called ** The Exchange;* from whence the 
W| fru v4 Ifcohajag* or Koy*1 Rxohang*. a pbcy for merchants and strangers to 

the World : Past and Present. 




Table XL — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise— Contd, 

1415-16 made in the parliament holden in the 25 Edward III [statute 5, 
cap. 2], the same our lord the king, willing to decide such doubt 
and to put the same to certainty, hath declared in this present 
parliament that such clipping, washing, and filing shall be adjudged 
for treason, and they which do so clip, wash, and file the money of 
the land, shall be judged treason to the king and' the realm, and 
shall incur the pain of treason." 
The circulation of base coin again prohibited, and a new coinage 

struck. — Wadb. 
" The coinage of Henry V (1416), became not sterling; and there was 

a great scarcity of coin." — Wade. 
By the 9 Henry Y, statute 2, the statutes concerning money were 
confirmed. A signorage upon coinage of money was imposed, viz., 
for gold, 5*. " for the pound of the Tower," and upon silver i*. $d. 
" for the pound of the Tower ; " while those who would not subject 
their money to be coined into English were to be charged after the 
rate of id. for the noble, \d. per half -noble, id. per quarter noble, 
" with the signorable and coinage as afore is said." 

It was further enacted : — 

"Item — That the king's mint be coined and made at Calais, in 
the manner as it hath been made and governed at the Tower of 

" VL Item — That all the money of gold and silver that shall be 
made at the Tower of London and at Calais, or elsewhere in the 
realm of England, by authority royal, shall be made of as good 
weight as it is now made at the Tower. 

" Item — That the king do to be ordained good and just weight of 
the noble, half-noble, and farthing of gold, with the rates necessary 
to the same, for every city, borough, and market town, of the realm, 
to be delivered by the chancellor of England to them that will have 
them, to the intent that be not deceived by false counterfeits, and 
them that use false weight in deceit of the people." 
'23 .... By 2 Henry VII, cap. 9, it was enacted : — 

" Item — It is ordained, that proclamation be made through all the 
counties of England within franchises and without, and within cities, 
towns, boroughs, and elsewhere, that all the money called blanks shall 
be wholly out and voided out of the realm before the feast of St. 
John Baptist next coming ; and moreover, that no man after the said 
feast pay or receive for payment in any manner within the said realm, 
the said money called blanks, upon the pain contained and ordained 
by a statute made 3 Henry V, and other to our lord the king's agent all 
that pay or receive for payment the money called gaily halfpence, 
suskins, and dotkins within the realm." 

By 2 Henry VI, c. 16, it is recited and enacted : — 

" Item — Forasmuch as great scarcity of white money is within the 
realm, because that silver is bought and sold not coined at the price 
of xxxij#. the pound of troy, whereas the same pound is no more of 
value at the coin [mint] than xxxij#. abated for the coinage twelve- 
pence ; It is ordained and established for the increase of the said 
white money, that no man, of what estate or condition he be, within 
the realm, shall buy or sell no silver in plate, broken nor in masse, 
being as good of allay as the sterling, above $os. in the pound of troy, 
over the fashion upon the pain of forfeiture of double the value of as 
much as he buyeth or selleth contrary to the ordinance." 

The words " over the fashion " which occur in this Act may be 
read " beyond he cost of workmanship" :— 

" Here's the note how much your chain weighs to the utmost carat, 
The fineness of the gold and charge for fashion."— Shaucspiak*. 

This Act was repealed in 1628-24 by 21 tamea I, ra$. 3& t ta&AY. 


Walfobd — On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Cwrrency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1463 .... 



ou .... 


An Act of the parliament of Ireland, 5 Edward IV, cap. 8 — "An Act 
against clipped money" — is as follows : — 

" Also at the request of the commons, that inasmuch as the groat, 
the half -groat, and the peny, and other coins are lost and destroyed 
by divers and many clippings ; It is ordained and established, and 
enacted by the authority of the said parliament, that money clipped 
shall not be taken in and by no manner of payment after the feast 
of the Purification of our Lady next ensuing, but that it be after the 
said feast utterly void, dampned, and determined no coyne of the 
king ; and that it shall be lawful to every man to refuse the same, and 
that thereupon a proclamation shall be made in the said parliament, 
and upon the same proclamation, writs shall be directed to the 
sheriffs, mayors, bayliffs, sovereigns, portrisses, and all other officers 
and ministers within the said land of Ireland, to make proclamation 
upon the present Act. And thereupon proclamation was made in 
the said parliament according to the said Act or ordinance." 

Edward IV called in the base money. — Wade. 

By the 17 Edward 4, cap. 1, the Acts of 1335 and 1400-01 are recited, 
and it was then further recited : — 

" And now so it is that of late, and at these days counterfeit and 
false money of such countries, in poys [weight] figures and alay as 
groats and pence made in Ireland in part like to the groats and naif- 
groats, four pens and two pens of this realm, in such a great multitude 
be daily brought into this realm, out of Ireland and other places, and 
put in payment in this realm, which if it should long endure, it 
should not only destroy the good money of this realm, but also 
cause the good money of silver of this realm made within the same, 
to be translated and turned into the said false and counterfeit money 
made in Ireland and other places, and also should cause a great part 
of the plate of silver to be carried out of this realm, and to be 
coined into the said false and counterfeit money, wherefore. . . . 
it is ordained that after the feast of Easter next coming, none of the 
same moneys of Ireland shall run in payment within this realm, 
Wales, Calais, or the marches of the same ; nor that no person after 
the said feast put any of the same moneys, nor the same receive in 
any payment within this realm and upon pain of forfeiture of the 
same money. . . ." 

By 4 Henry 7, cap. 18, " Forgynge and countrefeyting of gold and 
silver of other londes supposed to renne in this realme is made 

" Item — For as moche as by the kyngis sufferaunce dyverse coigne 
of golde and silver, whiche be not of the kyngis proper coigne of 
Englande, be currante in payment within this reame, dyvers and 
many evyll disposed persones, perceyving that the forgyng and 
counterfetyng of suche coignes is neither folonye nor treason, 
presume and take upon theym for their availe and prefyte to 
counterfyt and forge such coynes ; to the grete hurte and prejudice 
aswell of the kyng our sovereyne lorde as to the hurte of all the 
kyngis subgettes; It is therefore ordeyned and established by auctorite 
of the said parliament, that the countrefeytyng and forgyng of every 
such coyne be adjudged treison, as it is of the countrefytyng of the 
proper coignage of the kyng of this realme." 

The 4 Henry VII, cap. 23, revived the 27 Edward IV, cap. 1, pro- 
hibiting the exportation of money, plate and jewels ; and it was 
enacted that no one should deliver by way of exchange to strangers, 
any gold coin or plate, bullion, &c., upon pain of forfeiture of the 
double the value thereof. 

Columbus discovered America : " The quantities of gold and silver this 
continent furnished within a short time after, greatly influenced the 
landed and trading intereata oi Hvxroge " — Sib Chablbs Whitwobth. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XT. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 





Again the same writer says, under date 1508, " Before the discovery 

of America the price of labour and provisions were but low 

but this sudden plenty of money enhanced the price of labour and 
provisions ; the value of estates increased, and the landowner was in 
the end most advantaged j such were with us the first effects of 
Peruvian riches." 
The 19 Henry VII, cap. 5, recites as follows : — 

" The king our sovereign lord, seeing evidently that his coin, and 
especially of silver, is sore impaired, as well by clipping thereof, as 
counterfeiting of the same, and by bringing into this his realm the 
coin of Ireland, by occasion whereby great rumour and variance 
daily increaseth among his subjects for outing and refusing of the 


"It is then enacted that all manner of gold of the coins of a 
sovereign, half-sovereign, royal, half-royal, and the fourth part of a 
royal, the angel, the half -angel, and every of them being gold, whole 
and weight, should go and be current in payment through all this his 
realm for the sum that they were coined for ; and also that as well 
all manner of groats of English coin, and of the coins of other lands 
now current in this realm for groats, or for ivd. being silver, and not 
clipped, minished, or otherwise impaired, except reasonable wearing 
(albeit they be cracked), as all manner of half groats, or for \}d. not 
clipped, minished, or otherwise impaired, being silver (howbeit they 
be cracked) shall in likewise go and be current through all the same 
realm for the sum as they were coined for. And over that, that all 
manner of pence being silver, and having the print of the king's coin, 
shall have course and be current for payment, as well to him in all 
his receipts, as to all his receivers, and to all other lords spiritual and 
temporal and their receivers, and to all other within this his realm, 
without any manner refusal or contradiction except only pence 
bearing spurs, or the mullet, to have course for half -pence and not 

Any person refusing to take such coins in payment for the values 
aforesaid, to be liable to punishment at the decision of a justice ; then 

" That all manner of groats and half groats .... as well English 
coin as coin of other lands, clipped, minished, or otherwise impaired, 
except reasonable wearing, shall not go or be in any wise current for 
payment within this realm, but utterly to be refused and forsaken in 

Eayment from henceforth. And that notwithstanding it shall be 
iwf ul to any person having any such groats or pence of \\d. clipped 
or diminished, to bring the same to the king s mint, there to be 
changed after the custom of the same mint or convert the same into 
plate, bullion, or otherwise sell or employ it to his use or profit or 
advantage within this realm, any other Act or Acts to the contrary in 
any wise notwithstanding. 

" And in eschewing and avoiding of such clipping in time to come, 
the king .... hath caused to be made new coins of groats and 
pence of ijrf., and that every piece of the same coin shall have a 
circle about the utter part thereof ; and also all manner of gold here- 
after to be coined within this his realm shall have the whole scripture 
about every piece of the same gold, without lacking of any part 
thereof, to the intent that his subjects hereafter may have perfect 
knowledge bv that circle and scripture when the same coins be clipped 
or impaired. 

No one hereafter was to carry into Ireland more than 6s. %d. of 
bullion, plate, or coin, or to bring in more than 3*. q&. of Irish coin. 

The 1 Henry VIII, cap. 13, inhibited the exportation of money, plate, 
or jewels, until next parliament. 

The 3 Henry VIII, cap. 1, also extended the inhibition, under penalty 
of double the value, until next parliament. 


Walford— On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative aad Otherwise — Contd. 


1523 .... 



'47 .... 

ox. .... 

5« .... 

53 .... 

'54 .... 

'60 .... 
62 .... 

By 14 and 15 Henry VIII, cap. 12 — " An Act concerning coyning of 
money" — the proportion of coins to be struck from ioo£. worth of 
gold or silver respectively was defined. The tenth part of any 
money coined for any person was to be in halfpence and farthings (to 
supersede the coins of these respective denominations then in 
currency, which were of the same size [i.e. equal] or thereabouts, 
causing deceit). This Act not to affect the mints of York, Durham 
and Canterbury. 

By 34 and 35 Henry VIII, cap. 27, it was enacted (sec. 25), that the 
lords of the exchequer and collectors might for the " space of cone 
hole yere nexte folowing take and not refuse in any payment, any 
ducates, crownes, crusadoros, or any other golde coyned m the parties 
beyond the sea, bearing their true weight according to suche value as 
was limited by the laste proclamation thereof, made the xxvijth daie 
of Marche in the xxxth yere of the reigne of our saide soveraigne lorde 
the king." 

Stevens in his " History of Taxes," (second edition, 1733, p. 209), openly 
accuses Henry VIII of coining base money, " against the honor of a 

By 37 Henry VIII, cap. 25, the like coins as specified in the Act of 
1542-43, might be received in payment of subsidies. 

Henry VIII had during the latter years of his reign suffered his coin 
continually to be debased — so that his shillings at this date (1 
Edward VI) passed for 9<J. and afterwards for 6d. only. — 

By 5 and 6 Edward VI, cap. 12 — "An Acte towchinge the exchanges of 
golde and sylver " — a penalty was inflicted for giving more for gold or 
silver coin than the value of its currency as provided by proclamation 
for the time being. 

[Note. — The object of this measure was clearly to prevent the sale 
of coin simply as bullion for purposes of transport and exchange.] 

At this date the coin of the realm was three-fourths alloy. — Whit- 

By 7 Edward VI, cap. 6 — " An Acte reviving a statute made in the 
xvijth yere of King Edwarde the Fourthe, touching the carrieng of 
golde and sylver out of the realme " — The Act of 1477-88, which had 
been continued by the Act of 1488-89 for twenty years, was revived, it 
being recited that " Sithin the whiche xx years sooe expired, the 
golde and sylver of the coygne of this realm hathe and daily ys and 
been carried and conveighed into France, Flanders, Normandye, 
Brytayn, Irelande, and other parties beyonde the sea, aswell by 
merchant strangiers, as by denizens, to the great impoverishing of 
this realme, and greater ys lyke to bee oneles remedy e therfr spedelye 
be provided." The revived provisions to continue for twenty years 
from this date. 

By 1 Mary, statute 2, cap. 6, the counterfeiting foreign coin current in 
the realm was declared high treason. 

Queen Mary restored the coin to very nearly its proper standard. — 

By 1 and 2 Philip and Mary, cap. 11, the importation of counterfeit 
foreign coins current in this realm, with a view to the uttering the 
same here, was declared high treason. 

The base coin called in and genuine coin issued. 

By 5 Elizabeth, cap. 9 — " An Act against the clipping, washing, round- 
ing, and filing of coins," it is recited : — 

" Whereas the offences of clipping, rounding, washing, and filing of 
monies, or coins of this realm, was declared by an Act of parliament, 
in the time of King Henry V, to be treason to the king and the realm ; 
and according to the said Act the same offences were and did continue 
treason until the 1st May, at which time the pains and penalties due 

the World : Past and Present 


Table XI. —Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Othenoise — Contd. 


1562 .... for the said offences were abrogated and taken away by the general 
Act of repeal then made ; by reason whereof divers false and evil 
disposed persons, perceiving themselves to be loose and free from the 
severity and danger of the said law and penalty, have been of late 
the more hardy and bold to attempt and practice for wicked lucre and 
gain's sake, to diminish, impair, and falsify the monies and coins 
current within this realm, and the dominions of the same, by such 
clipping, washing, rounding, and filing thereof, not only to the great 
dishonour of the queen's majesty our sovereign lady that now is, by 
whose great goodness the new moneys or coins of the same are now 
reduced to as much fineness as ever hath been in any time of her noble 
progenitors, but also to the great loss and damage of the good subjects 
of this realm, and more is likely to be hereafter if the same be not 
speedily met withal." 

The said offences were therefore again to be adjudged treason. 

'72 .... By 14 Elizabeth, cap. 3 — " An Act againste the forging and counter- 
fay ting of forraine coygne, being curraunte within this realm " — the 
punishment for such offences was made imprisonment, with forfeiture 
of lands and goods. 
75-76 By 18 Elizabeth, cap. 1 — "An Act against the demolishing and 
empayring of the queenes maties coin and other coynes lawfully e 
current within this realm " — it is recited : — 

" Whereas the offences of clipping, rounding, washing, and filing, 
for wicked lucre or gainsake, of any the proper monies or coins of 
this realm or the dominions thereof, or of the monies or coins of any 
other realm allowed by proclamation, and suffered to be current 
within this realm or the dominions thereof . . . are taken and 
deemed and adjudged to be treason, and the offenders therein, and 
their counsellors, con sen tors, and aiders likewise . . . are to 
suffer the pains of death. . . . Sithence the making of which 
good law and statute divers false and evil disposed persons, knowing 
that the said law being, as it is, penal, ought to be taken and ex- 
pounded strictly according to the words thereof, and the like offences, 
not by any equity, to receive the like punishment or pains have . . . 
most wickedly devised and practised . . . undue ways and means 
to falsify, impair, diminish, and lighten, as well the proper monies 
and coins of this realm ... as also the moneys of other realms 
allowed and suffered to be current within this realm." 

All of which was now to be deemed treason, punishable with 
death and forfeiture of lands, &c. 
1615 .... The Earl of Stirling was constituted by James VI of Scotland (and 
continued in a like position by Charles I) a sort of deputy-sovereign 
of that kingdom ; he assumed the office of master of the mint, 
" and obtained the royal authority to add to his private fortune by 
debasing the coin." — Leaves from my Autobiography, Rev. Charles 
Rogers, 1876, p. 363. 

'23-24 The Act of 1423 (2 Henry VI, cap. 16) was repealed by 21 James I, 
cap. 28, section 11. 

'32 .... About 700,000/. per annum was coined at the English mint. 

'4i2-51 During the whole period of the civil war coin suffered much. — 

'51 .... The Commonwealth's sixpences were the first milled coin in England. 

'53 .... Private persons had liberty to coin their own pennies. 

'58 .... Cromwell coined the first English milled crown-piece. 

'61 .... This year there was published a book which engaged some attention, 
and has continued to attract attention ever since, viz., " England's 
Treasure by Forraign Trade : or the Ballance of our Forraign Trade 
is the Rule of our Treasure." By Thomas Mun, of London, 
merchant. In this little book is contained (I here quote from the 
third edition, 1669) chapters bearing the following titles : — IV. The 


Walfobd — On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 









Exportation of our Moneys in Trade of Merchandise is a means to 
increase our treasure. VI. The Spanish Treasure cannot be kept 
from other Kingdoms by any prohibition made in Spain. VII. The 
Enhancing or Debasing our Monies cannot enrich the Kingdom with 
Treasure, nor hinder the Exportation thereof. VIII. A Tolleration 
of Foreign Coins to pass current here at higher rates than their value 
with our Standard, will not increase our Treasure. XI. It will not 
increase our Treasure to enjoin the Merchant that exporteth Fish, 
Corn, or Munition, to return all or parts of the valuable in money. 
It would have been well if our statesmen and legislators had paid 
regard to these truths when they were so proclaimed. 

" The current coin of the realm had for years been so clipped as to 
lose half its value ; one reason why provisions sold at greater rates." — 
Whitwoeth. Milled money now began to be generally coined. 

By 14 Car. II, cap. 31 — " An Act to prevent the inconvenience arising 
Dy melting the silver coyn of this realm " — it is recited that the Acts 
made in this behalf (9 Edward III, statute 2, cap. 3 ; and 17 
Richard II, cap. 1) had been evaded ; and it is now enacted that the 
penalty for melting the current coin of the realm was disfranchise 
ment and imprisonment. 

By 18 and 19 Car. II, cap. 5, it is recited as being obvious " that the 
plenty of current coynes of gold and silver of this kingdome is of 
great advantage to trade and commerce," and it is then enacted that 
for every pound troy of gold or silver brought there was to be 
delivered a pound troy of current coin ; and more or less as the 
bullion exceeded or was less than the fineness of the standard. The 
cost of the coinage was to be defrayed by a new impost on certain 
liquors, viz., wine, vinegar, cyder, and beer imported— 10*. per tun. 
Proviso for Lady Villiers (under letters patent) to be paid 2d. by toll 
of every pound weight troy of silver moneys conied for twenty-one 
years, but not to exceed 600?. in any one year. (See 1672.) 

By 25 Charles II, cap. 8 — " An Act for continuing a former Act con- 
ing coynage " — it is recited : — 

" Forasmuch as great advantage hath accrewed to this kingdome by 
one Act of this present parliament . . . [1666] . . . for 
that very great quantities of gold and silver have been brought into 
this realme, and converted into the current coynes thereof by reason 
of the encouragement given thereto by the said Act." 

The recited Act, which was to continue till 20th December, 1671, 
was by the present Act continued for a further seven years. 

The king coined copper half-pence and farthings. — Whitworth. (See 
note, 1697, Tokens.) 

By 1 James II, cap. 7, the Acts of 1666 and 1672 were continued for 
seven years further. 

By 1 William and Mary, cap. 30 — " An Act to repeal the statute made 
in the fifth year of King Henry IV, against the multiplying gold 
and silver," which recited that it was " amongst other things " [in the 
said 5 Henry IV, cap. 4] " enacted in these words or to this effect 
namely, that none from henceforth should use to multiply gold or 
silver or use the craft of multiplication ; and if any the same do, they 
shall incur pain of felony." 

" And whereas since the making of the said statute, diverse persons 
have by their study, industry, and learning, arrived at great skill and 
perfection in the art of melting and refining of metalls, and otherwise 
improving them and their ores (which very much abound within this 
realm), and extracting gold and silver out of the same, but dare not 
exercise their said skill within this realm, for fear of falling under 
the penalty of the said statute, but exercise the said art in foreign 
parts, to the great loss and detriment of this realm." 
The said recited Act waa nor* rapealed, and it was enacted that 

the World : Past and Present 


Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise —Contd. 


1688 .... henceforth all the gold and silver which should be extracted by the 
aforesaid art should be employed for no other use than the increase 
of money, the full value to be paid therefor at the mint, and the 
same was to be used nowhere but in His Majesty's kingdoms and 
'91 .... There was published Sir Dudley North's "Discourse upon Trade, 
principally directed to the Cases of the Interest, Coynage, Clipping, 
and Increase of Money." 
'94 .... By 6 and 7 William and Mary, cap. 17 — " An Act to prevent counter- 
feiting and clipping the coin of this kingdom " — it is recited : — 

" Whereas it is manifest that of late years the current coin of this 
kingdom hath been greatly diminished by clipping, rounding, filing 
and melting the same, and likewise many false and counterfeit coins 
have been clipped for the better disguising thereof. And forasmuch 
as it is apparent that these practices of diminishing the current coin 
is very much occasioned by those who drive a trade of changing 
broad money for clipped money, and by other arts and devices. 

" It was therefore enacted that from and after 1st May, 1695, if any 
person or persons whatever, shall at any one time or payment, 
exchange, sell, borrow or buy, receive or pay any broad silver money, 
or silver money unclipt of the coin of the kingdom, for more in 
tale, benefit, profit, or advantage, than the same was coined for, and 
ought by law to go for, be lent, sold for, borrowed or bought, received 
or paid, shall forfeit the sum of ioZ. for every 20*. that shall be so 
exchanged," &c. 

It was given in evidence before a committee of the House of 
Commons this year, that five pounds current silver specie was scarce 
worth 405. sterling. Besides an infinite deal of iron, brass and 
copper, washed over or plated, passed for money. 

There was published, "A Sermon against Clipping [the coin], 
preached before the right honourable the lord mayor and court of 
aldermen, at Guildhall chappel, on 16th December, 1694. By 
W. Fleetwood, chaplain in ordinary to their majesties [afterwards 
bishop of Ely]. London: printed by Tho. Hodgkin, and are to be 
sold by John Whitlock, near Stationers' Hall. 1694." Dr. Fleetwood 
was the author of Chronicon Preciosum. 
'95 .... The silver coin was now so much debased and clipped that one guinea 
was equal to 30*. current coin. 

The nation generally was alarmed at the circulation of " artificial 
wealth," such as bank notes, exchequer tallies, and government 
security. Sank notes were at 20 per cent, discount. — Whitwokth. 

The condition of the currency had again become serious. 

1. By 7 and 8 William III, cap. 1—" An Act for remedying the ill 
state of the coin of the kingdom " — it is recited : — 

" Whereas the silver coins of this realm (as to a great part thereof), 
doe appear to be exceedingly diminished by such persons who (not- 
withstanding several good laws formerly provided, and many examples 
of justice thereupon), have practised the wicked and pernicious crime 
of clipping, until at length the course of the monies within this 
kingdom, is become difficult and very much perplext, to the un- 
speakable wrong and prejudice of His Majesty, and his good subjects 
in their affairs as well publick as particular, and no sufficient remedy 
can be applied to the manifold evils arising from the clipping of the 
moneys without recoining the clipt pieces. 

" Now to the end a regular and effectual method may be observed 
and put in execution in and for the recoining of the said clipt 
moneys, whether the same be sterling silver, or bee silver of a courser 
allay than the standard. And to the end the loss upon the said 
money Soe to bee recoined (to wit), the quantity of silver that is 
clipt away or deficient in the said moueva T£^\»\»\^fcT^^iN^&.*S!A. 


"Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1695 .... adjusted in order to the making satisfaction for the same by a public 
charge or contribution. ,, 

On or before 1st February, 1695, returns of clipt money in the 
Treasury were to be entered in a book ; and up to 4th May, 1696, 
clipped sterling money was to be received at same rate as if undipped, 
in order of being made into new coin. Sixpences not being clipped 
within the innermost ring, to be kept in circulation.- 

2. Same session. By 7 and 8 William III, cap. 13 — "An Act for 
taking off the obligation and encouragement for coining guineas for a 
certaine time therein mentioned," wherein the Acts of 1666, 1672, 
and 1685 are recited, under which coin, plate, or bullion taken to the 
mint might be coined into current coin of the realm without any 
charge or abatement for waste : — 

" And whereas great quantities of gold have lately been imported 
from foreign parts, which being coined here as aforesaid into guineas, 
have been (on occasion on the present ill state of the silver coins) 
taken and accepted by the subjects of this realm, at very high and 
unusual rates and prices,, tending to the great damage and loss of 
the public. The continuance of which practice (unless speedily 
prevented), will run the nations vastly in debt to foreigners, for the 
repayment, whereof the silver money of this kingdom, must 
inevitably be exhausted on terms of great disadvantage." 

Therefore " to prevent the growth of so great an evil," the mint 
until 1st July following, was not obliged to receive or coin gold. 

The wine duties were to be applied to the coinage of silver. There 
was a proviso for coinage of gold brought to the mint by the royal 
African company. The importation of guineas or half -guineas from 
beyond the sea, " which may prove very prejudicial to this kingdom 
in the present juncture," was prohibited on pain of forfeiture. 

3. Same session. By 7 and 8 William III, cap. 19 — " An Act to 
encourage the bringing plate into the mint to be coined, and for the 
further remedying the ill state of the coine of the kingdome " — it is 
recited : — 

" Whereas severall persons haveing wrought or manufactured plate 
or silver in vessell are or may bee willing and desirous, having a 
suitable encouragement given them, to bring such plate or vessels into 
His Majesty's mint or mints to bee coyned into the current coines 
of this realmo, which will tend to the publick benefitt ;" it was 
therefore enacted that persons bringing plate, &c., to the mint to be 
coined, might have the same assayed, &c., without any charge, and 
for every pound troy of sterling or standard silver, there should be 
delivered out a pound troy of lawful moneys, together with a 
reward after the rate of sixpence per ounce, upon the quantity 
brought in. 

After 4th May, 1696, no tavern keeper was to expose any silver 
article (except spoones), for public use, in his use, on pain of 
forfeiture. All persons having presses for coinage, taking the same 
to the mint would be paid for the same ; but after the 3rd May, if 
found in the possession of any person they would be forfeited, with 
penalty of 500Z. There were heavy penalties for shipping bullion 
without certificate that the same was of foreign ownership. 

4. Same session. In William III, cap. 30, is contained a clause which 
sets forth the relations between the corporation of moneyers and 
the mint, regarding the coinage of small silver moneys. 

5. By another Act of the same session, 7 and 8 William III, cap. 31, 
precautions are taken (section 84) regarding paving the 6d. per ounce 
reward upon silver plate brought to the mint to be coined ; and a 
penalty was imposed for unduly tendering plate for coinage. 

It is stated that the cost of reforming the coinage at this date was 

the World : Past and Present 


Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 





" A great want of money in specie, but this was remedied by issue 
of new coin." — Whitwoeth. 

It is reported that during this reign a commission, consisting of 
Lord Somers, Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke, was appointed to 
reform the coinage, from whence probably much of the legislation of 
this year proceeded. 

There was published " Lownde's Essay for the Amendment of the 
Silver Coin." 8vo. 

There was published " A Discourse concerning coining the new Money 
lighter, in answer to Mr. Lock's considerations about raising the value 
of money." By Nicholas Barton, Esq., London. Printed for Richard 
Chiswell, at the Rose and Crown, in St. Paul's Churchyard, mdcxcvi ; 
also, "Regulating the Silver Coin made Easy and Practicable.' 1 

By 8 and 9 William III, cap. 1 — " An Act for importing and coining 
guineas and half -guineas, which after reciting the Act of last 
session (cap. 13), further recites : — " But the said price of guineas being 
now reduced to, or neare the standard, and sundry persons being 
desirous to coine gold, and also to import great quantities of guineas 
and half -guineas, which may be very beneficial to the trade and 
commerce of this kingdome;" these coins were permitted to be 
freely imported. 

2. By another Act of this session, 8 and 9 William III, cap. 2 — "An 
Act for the further remedying the ill state of the coin of the 
kingdom " — it is recited as follows : — 

" Whereas great mischief and inconveniences have fallen upon this 
kingdome by the frequent counterfeiting, clipping, and other un- 
lawful diminishing of the current coine of this kingdome, for the 
remedying wuereof for the future it is thought necessary that all 
the hammered silver coin of this kingdom should be recoined by the 
mill and presse, which will be less subject to those pernicious and 
destructive methods of clipping and counterfeiting ; and that in the 
meantime, to put a stopp to the further clipping such hammered 
money, the same should not be current in payment, otherwise than is 
hereafter mentioned. 

" For the incouragement therefore of all persons to bring in their 
hammered silver money into His Majesty's minte to be recoined, be 
it enacted," &c. That all such hammered silver money clipped or 
undipped, as should be brought by any person, at any time after the 
4th November, 1696, and before the 1st July, 1697, should be 
received at $s. ^d. per ounce j hammered coin to be taken for taxes on 
loans at $s. Sd. an ounce. 

3. After 1st December, 1696, no hammered silver coin to be current, 
except by weight ; broad hammered money to be received till 18th 
November, by tale for taxes, &c. All the hammered money to be 
melted down and coined by the mill. 

4. By a later Act of same session, 8 and 9 William III, cap. 6, it is 
enacted (section 106), that tender of hammered silver at rate of 
5*. id. an ounce, after 1st February, 1696. 

By another Act of the same session, 8 and 9 William III, cap. 7 — 
"An Act for granting to His Majesty several duties upon paper, 
vellum, and parchment, to encourage the bringing of plate and 
hammered money into the mint to be coined " — such duties were so 
imposed, in order to bear the charge of the recoinage, apparently 
estimated at 125,000/. 

5. And by yet another Act, 8 and 9 William III, cap. 8—" An Act 
incouraging the bringing in wrought plate to be coined"— it was 
enacted that persons bringing in such wrought plate to be coined 
between the 1st July, 1696, and 4th November, 1697, should be paid 
for the same at the rate of 5*. 4^. per ounce, in the ne^r ibsus*}* 


Walford— On the Fa/mi/ries of 

Table XI. — Cwrrency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 




of the realm, " no deduction for solder, unless in any bottom part of 
the plate.' ' 

6. There was also enacted the 8 and 9 William III, cap. 26 — -" An 
Act for the better preventing the counterfeiting the current coin of 
the kingdome." (See 1702 and 1708.) 
There was enacted 9 William III, cap. 2 — "An Act to prevent the 
further currency of any hammered silver coine of this kingdome, and 
for re-coining such as is now in being, and for the making out new 
exchequer bills, whether former bills are or shall be filled upp by 
endorsement." From 10th July, 1697, no hammered silver coin to 
be current, nor the tender thereof a good tender, nor the refusal 
thereof refusal of lawful coin. 

2. By another Act of same session, 9 William III, cap. 21 — "An Act 
for the better preventing the counterfeiting, clipping and other 
diminishing the coine of this kingdom " — there is some glimmering 
of legislative wisdom. It recites : " Whereas the preventing the 
currency of dipt and unlawfully diminisht and counterfeit money is 
a more effectual! meanes to preserve the coine of this kingdom 
entire and pure than the most rigorous laws for the punishment of 
such as diminish or counterfeit the same ;" and further, " the 
former and ancient laws being grown into disuetude, whereby un- 
lawfully diminisht and counterfeit money or currency, and wicked and 
trayterous persons are encouraged to diminish and counterfeit the 
same ; now to the end, the kingdom, after so vast a charge and 
expense for the reformation of the silver coine, and restoring it to its 
due weight and purity, may not relapse into the same evil from 
which it hath been so lately delivered with great difficulty and hazard, 
and that counterfeit and unlawfully diminisht money, which already 
begins to increase, may be defaced and destroyed, be it declared," &c. 

And it was declared and enacted that persons to whom unlawful 
money was tendered might break or deface the same ; and if 
counterfeit, the persons tendering the same were to bear the loss. 
Silver moneys for duties, &c, to be taken by weight. 

3. There was another Act of the same session, 9 William III, cap. 36 
— " An Act to stop the coining farthings and half- pence for one 
year " — which recited : " Whereas, by reason of the great quantities 
of copper farthings and half -pence which have lately been coined 
and uttered, the same are at present become a burthen and incon- 
venience to many of his majesty's subjects in several parts of the 
kingdom." The coinage of these and of " tokens to go for farthings 
and half -pence," was stopped ; and an arrangement was authorised 
to be made with the contractors for farthings of copper to supply 
farthings of tin* 

* Tokens. — For many centuries, down, in fact, to Charles II (1672), the only 
authorised current coin in the realm was of gold and silver (except that perhaps 
the earliest inhabitants of our island had used copper). The silver pence and 
half-pence had gradually become reduced in size until by reason of their 
smallness they had become inconvenient. To remedy this, and also to provide 
change for the increase of retail trade, and above all as a means of advertise- 
ment, tokens came to be issued by tradesmen. They were mostly coins of 
small denominations, and were first issued about the reign of Henry VII. 
They were variously composed, originally of lead, tin, latten, and even of 
leather ; later on, of copper. In the reign of Elizabeth they greatly increased ; 
and though the silver farthings coined by James I and Charles I for a time 
supplied the want of small coin, yet in the civil wars the private tokens 
multiplied to a great excess ; and every petty tradesman had his pledges for a 
half -penny, redeemable in silver or in goods to bearer on demand at his shop ; 
upon the credit of which it therefore depended whether they should circulate 

tfie World : Past and Present. 


Table XL — Currency Restrictions,. Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1700 .... 




Abundance of French money in England. — Whitwobth. 
By 12 and 13 G-eorge III, cap. 11, section 12, the statute of 1666 
(continued by several subsequent Acts) was further extended for a 
period of seven years. 

Note. — The current cash of the kingdom computed to be 
12 millions. 
By 1 Anne, cap. 1, the Act of 1696-97, cap. 26, which " hath been found 
of good use for suppressing the counterfeiting the current coin of 
this kingdom by such tools and instruments as are therein 
prohibited," continued in force till 25th March, 1709. 

The town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was appointed for assaying and 
marking wrought plate for coinage, and the silversmiths inhabiting 
there were constituted into and incorporated as the Company of 
Goldsmiths of the said town. 

The rules for marking and assaying wrought plate were as in 
12 and 13 William III, cap. 4. 
By the Act of union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, 
6 Anne, cap. 11 [Ruffhead, 5 Anne, cap. 8], article xvi, it was 
enacted : — 

" That from and after the union, the coin shall be of the same 
standard and value throughout the United Kingdom as now in 
England, and a mint shall be continued in Scotland, under the same 
rules as the mint in England," &c. 

And by article xv it had been agreed that the losses " which private 
persons may sustain by reducing the coin of Scotland to the standard 
and value of the coin of England may be made good," out of a fund 
which had been provided for various purposes of. adjustment (see 
The 7 Anne, cap. 42 — " An Act for continuing the former Act for the 
encouragement of the coinage, and to encourage the bringing foreign 
coins and British or foreign plate to be coined, and for making 
provision for the mints in Scotland, and for the prosecuting offences 
concerning the coins in England " — continued the statute of 1666 and 
that of 1672. It then authorised the master and worker of the mint 
to offer bounties, at i\d. per ounce (and not exceeding in the whole 
6,oool. so to be expended), for foreign coins of standard silver 
brought into the mint between 20th April and 1st December, 1709 ; 
the same to be coined into money of this realm. 

through one or two streets, a whole town, or some little distance in the country 
round. The tradesmen on old London Bridge were famous for their tokens. 

The "London Gazette " for 25th July, 1672, and 23rd February, 1673, 
contained proclamations against these tokens, and of the issuing of the first 
farthing coinage — referring to " the Farthing Office in Fenchurch Street " as 
the place of exchange. > 

Again, in 1784, in consequence of the debased condition of the authorised 
copper coinage, there commenced a general striking and issue of provincial 
and tradesmen's tokens, foremost amongst which was the now famous Anglesey 
penny of this date. 

The inscriptions or impresses upon these tokens consisted generally of names, 
residences, initials, and the trade signs of their owners, by whom they were 
issued and guaranteed. The quantity used in London at one period was so great, 
that Sir Robert Cotton supposed in 1612 that there were no less than 3,000 
persons who issued leaden tokens of the amount of $1. annually on an average, 
of which they had not one-tenth remaining at the year's end. 

Not only did private persons issue tokens, but at a later date some of the 
more public institutions, as the Bank of England, the Bank of Ireland, &c, 
issued them, as will be seen by reference to the statutes given later. See 1804 to 
1825, this table. 


Walfobd— On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise— -Contd. 


1708 ... 

'11 ... 

'42 .... 

'59 .... 

62 .... 
To .... 


By another Act of this session, 7 Anne, cap. 25, the Act of 1696-97 
(cap 26), as extended in 1697-98 (cap. 21), and in 1702, was made 
The 10 Anne, cap. 7 [cap. 3 in some editions of statutes]— "An Act for 
charging and continuing the duties upon malt, mum, cyder and perry 
for the service of the year 1712 ; and for applying part of the coinage 
duties to pay the deficiency of the value of plate coined, and to pay 
for the recovering the old money of Scotland" — tells its own tale 
sufficiently in its title except in one particular, as to which it is recited 
as follows : — 

" And whereas by the accounts that have been given of the charge 
of recovering of the money in that part of Great Britain caJled 
Scotland, pursuant to the articles of union in that behalf, there 
appears to be due and owing to the provost and moniers of the mint 
in the Tower of London, a considerable sum of money on the several 
rates and allowances agreed to be paid them for and upon account of 
the said recoinage ; and some doubt hath arisen whether the sum or 
sums so due and owing may legally be taken out of the money arising 
by the coinage duties, and as the said duties now stand. .... ." 

And it was enacted that a sum not exceeding 2,joqI. 5*. $\d. might 
be so applied. 

The gold coinage at this date in Great Britain was estimated at 
1 2,ooo,ooo£. — Davenant. 
By the 15 George II, cap. 28 — "An Act for the more effectual prevent- 
ing the counterfeiting of the current coin of this kingdom, and the 
utteriDg and paying false or counterfeit coin" — it was made high 
treason to gild silver coin in view of making it resemble gold. This 
Act recited : — *. 

"II. And whereas the uttering of false money, knowing it to be 
false, is a crime frequently committed all over the kingdom, and the 
offenders therein are not deterred, by reason that it is only a 
misdemeanor, and the punishment very often but small, though there 
be great reason to believe that the common utterers of such money 
are either themselves the coiners, or in confederacy with the coiners 

It was therefore again made felony for the third offence, imprison- 
ment for the first and second. 
There was published The Analysis of Trade, Commerce, Corn, Bullion, 
Banks, and Foreign Exchange. By Philip Cantillon, late merchant 
of Purden (Watts) . McCufioch says, " late of the city of London, 
The gold coinage was estimated at i6,ooo,oooZ. — Anderson. 
We now find that the gold coinage was being subjected to similar 
treatment to that which had been so long experienced by the silver 

By 13 George III, cap. 71 — " An Act for the better preventing the 
counterfeiting, clipping, and other diminishing the gold coin of this 
kingdom" — wherein it is recited : — 

" Whereas the preventing the currency of clipped and unlawfully 
diminished and counterfeit money, is a more effectual means to 
preserve the coin of this kingdom entire and pure than the most 
rigorous laws for the punishment of such as diminish or counterfeit 
the same ; and whereas, by the known laws of this kingdom, no 
person ought to pay, or knowingly tender in payment, any counterfeit 
or unlawfully diminished money ; and all persons may not only refuse 
the same, but may, and by the ancient statutes and ordinances of this 
kingdom have been required to destroy and deface the same, and more 
particularly the tellers in the receipt of the exchequer, by their duty 
and oath of office are required to receive no money but good and 
true ; and to the end that tta B&m« might be the better discerned and 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1773 .... 


ob •••• 

iTO •••• 

xoUU •••• 

'02 .... 

known by the ancient course of the said receipt of the exchequer, all 
money ought to be received there by weight as well as tale." 

It is then enacted that persons to whom gold money should be 
tendered, diminished otherwise than by reasonable wearing, or 
appearing to be counterfeit, might cut or deface such money ; disputes 
to be settled by mayors of cities or justices of the peace. 

The gold coinage brought into the mint by proclamation was 
1,556,359^. ; the expense of collecting, melting and recoining it was 

The 14 G-eorge III, cap. 42 — " An Act to prohibit the importation of 
light silver coin of this realm from foreign countries into Great 
Britain or Ireland; and to restrain the tender thereof beyond a 
certain sum" — recites : — 

" Whereas considerable quantities of old silver coin of this realm, 
or coin purporting to be such, greatly below the standard of the 
mint in weight, have been lately imported into this kingdom, and 
it is expedient that some provision should now be made to pre- 
vent a practice which may be carried on at this time to the very 
great detriment of the public." 

After 1st June this year all coin purporting to be British coin, 
not of the standard weight, prohibited from being brought into this 
kingdom, and might be seized and melted down. See 1798. 

The gold coinage estimated at 2o,ooo,oooZ. — Chalmers. 

The 38 G-eorge III, cap. 49 — " An Act to revise and continue until the 
1st day of January, 1799, an Act [14 George III, cap. 42 (1774)] 
. . . . and to suspend the coinage of silver — " recited : — 

" And whereas his majesty has appointed a committee of his privy 
council to take into consideration the state of the coins of the kingdom, 
and the present establishment and constitution of his majesty's mint ; 
and inconvenience may arise from any coinage of silver until such 
regulations may be framed as shall appear necessary ; and, whereas, 
from the present low price of silver bullion, owing to temporary 
circumstances, a small quantity of silver bullion has been brought to 
the mint to be coined, and there is reason to suppose that a still 
further quantity may be brought, and it is therefore necessary to 
suspend the coining of silver for the present." 

It was therefore resolved to suspend the coinage of silver until 
9th May, 1798 [royal assent, 21st June]. 

There was published, " The cause of the present threatened famine 
traced to its real source, viz., an actual depreciation of our circulating 
medium, occasioned by its paper currency, with which the war, the 
shock given to public credit in 1794, the stoppage of the bank in 
1797, the bankruptcies of Hamburg in 1799, inundated the country, 
to accommodate government, and enable the merchants to keep up 
the price of their merchandize. Showing by an arithmetical calcula- 
tion, founded on facts, the extent, nay the very mode of the progress 
which the paper system has made in reducing the people to paupers, 
with its only apparent practical remedy. By Common Sense." 
8vo., 28 pp. Motto on title page, " Depreciate the value of my money" 
and you take from me the means of subsistence to that amount. 
That is the gist of the argument of the author. 

The gold coinage of the kingdom was estimated at 37,000,000?. — 
Phillips. [Evidently an over-estimate, see 1830.] 

Also a pamphlet, " Cause of the present threatened famine traced 
to its real source, viz., an actual depreciation of our circulating 
medium by paper currency." 8vo. 

There was published, " Profusion of Paper Money, not deficiency in 
Harvests ; Taxation not Speculation ; the principal causes of the 
Sufferings of the People." By a Banker. 8vo. 

By 44 George III — cap. 71, " An Act to prevent thft <»\ja&«£^\&% <& 


WALfORD— On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Cwrrency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1804 .... 

'05 .... 

'08 .... 


silver coin issued by the governor and company of the Bank of 
England, called dollars, and silver coin which may be issued by the 
governor and company of the Bank of Ireland, called tokens; and to 
prevent the bringing into tUe United Kingdom, or uttering any 
counterfeit dollars or tokens " — it is recited : — 

" Whereas the governor and company of the Bank of England have 
for the convenience of the publick, lately caused to be coined or 
stamped, and circulated, a large quantity of silver dollars, containing 
on the obverse side thereof an impression of his majesty's head, and 
the following words and letters, videlicet , ' Georgius III Dei Gratia 
Bex/ and on the reverse side thereof the impression of ' Britannia,' 
and the following words and figures, videlicet, ' Five shillings dollar 
Bank of England 1804/ And whereas the governor and company 
of the Bank of England are preparing and intend to issue for the con- 
venience of the publick, in that part of the United Kingdom called 
Ireland, a quantity of silver coin denominated tokens, containing on 
the obverse side thereof the same impression, words, and letters as the 
said dollars, and on the reverse side thereof the impression of 
Hibernia, and the following words and figures, 'Bank of Ireland 
Token 1804, Six Shillings.' And whereas for the security of the 
publick it is expedient to prevent the counterfeiting of the said 
respective coins." 

It was therefore enacted that persons counterfeiting the said 
dollars or tokens should be guilty of felony, and persons uttering or 
vending counterfeits were to be liable to six months' imprisonment. 
There was enacted, 45 George III, cap. 42 — " An Act to extend the 
provisions of an Act made in the last session of parliament for pre- 
venting the counterfeiting of certain silver coin issued by the banks of 
England and Ireland respectively, to silver pieces, which may be issued 
by the governor and company of the Bank of Ireland, called tokens; 
and to promote the circulation of the said tokens " — which recited : — 

" Whereas the governor and company of the Bank of Ireland are 
preparing and intend to issue for the convenience of the public, in 
that part of the United Kingdom called Ireland, a quantity of silver 
pieces denominated tokens, of the common standard of Spanish pillar 
dollars, containing on the obverse side thereof an impression of his 
majesty's head, and the following words and letters, videlicet, 
'Georgius III Dei Gratia,' and on the reverse side thereof the 
following words and figures, ' Bank Token Five-pence Irish 1805,' 
each such token for fivepence containing in weight one-thirteenth 
part of the common weight of the Spanish pillar dollar, and each 
such token for tenpence containing two such thirteenth parts. And 
whereas for the security of the publick it is expedient to prevent the 
counterfeiting of the said respective tokens." 

And the like punishments as under the former Act were enacted. 
Such tokens issued during restrictions on Bank of Ireland to be 
received in payment of the revenue. 
The 48 George III, cap. 31 — " An Act to extend the provisions of an 
Act made in the forty-fifth year of his present majesty's reign, for 
preventing the counterfeiting of certain silver tokens, to certain other 
tokens, which may be issued by the governor and company of the 
Bank of Ireland, and to promote the circulation of the said last- 
mentioned tokens " — recited that the Bank of Ireland was preparing 
and would issue in Ireland a " Bank Token xxx pence Irish," each 
such token containing in weight six-thirteenth parts of the common 
weight of a Spanish pillar dollar ; also that the coins mentioned in 
the Act of 1805 had been issued with the figures 1806, instead of as 
described in the Act. Persons counterfeiting these coins or any of 
them to be guilty of felony. New coins to be taken in payment of 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1811 .... By 51 George III, cap. 110 — " An Act to prevent the counterfeiting of 
silver pieces denominated tokens, intended to be issued and circulated 
by the governor and company of the Bank of England, for the 
respective sums of five shillings and sixpence, three shillings, and 
one shilling and sixpence; and to prevent the bringing into the 
kingdom or uttering any such counterfeit pieces or tokens" — it is 
recited : — 

"Whereas the governor and company of the Bank of England, 
with the approbation of his majesty's most honourable privy council, 
are preparing to make and stamp, and intend to issue and circulate 
for the convenience of the public, a quantity of silver pieces, denomi- 
nated tokens, for the respective sums of five shillings and sixpence, 
three shillings, and one shilling and sixpence. . . ." 

Then follows a detailed description of the coins ; and penalties for 
counterfeiting or bringing counterfeit tokens into the kingdom. 
Powers of searching suspected houses. 

'11 .... The 51 G-eorge III, cap. 127 — " An Act for making more effectual 
provision for preventing the current gold coin of the realm from being 
paid or accepted for a greater value than the current value of such 
coin ; for preventing any note or bill of the governor and company of 
the Bank of England from being received for any smaller sum than 
the sum therein specified; and for staying proceedings upon any 
distress by tender of such notes" — sufficiently expresses its purpose in 
its title. It was passed in a period of scarcity of grain. 

'12 .... By 52 George III, cap. 157—" An Act to prevent the issuing and circu- 
lating of pieces of gold and silver, or other metals usually called 
tokens, except such as are issued by the Banks of England and 
Ireland respectively," — it is recited : — 

"Whereas various pieces of gold and silver, and mixed metals 
composed in part of gold or silver, usually denominated tokens, have 
lately been and are issued and circulated by persons residing in 
various parts of the United Kingdom, in great quantities, for nominal 
sums of money usually expressed therein, much above the real value 
of the metals of which the same are composed. And whereas it is 
expedient that the further making and issuing of such tokens should 
be prohibited, and the circulation of those already made or issued 
should also be prohibited for a limited period." 

No tokens already made to be issued, and none to circulate after 
25th March, 1813; but they might be presented for payment to 
original issuer, who was not to be relieved from payment by the 
operation of this Act. Act not to apply to Banks of England and 

'13 .... There were several enactments this year: — 

1. By 53 George III, cap. 19, " An Act to amend an -Act of the last 
session of parliament to prevent the issuing and circulating pieces of 
gold and silver or other metal usually called tokens, except such as 
are issued by the Banks of England and Ireland respectively." The 
period at which the circulation of tokens (other than those of the 
Banks of England and Ireland) was to cease was extended to 5th July, 

2. The 53 G-eorge III, cap. 106 — " An Act to extend the provisions 
of an Act made in the forty-fifth year of his present majesty's reign, 
for preventing the counterfeiting of certain silver tokens, to certain 
other tokens which have been or may be issued by the governor and 
company of the Bank of Ireland " — recites : — 

" . . . And whereas the governor and company of the Bank of 
Ireland have issued, or are preparing to issue in Ireland, for the con- 
venience of the public, a quantity of silver pieces denominated tokens, 
of the common standard of Spanish pillar dollars, for thirty pence, 
Irish currency, each .... 

22 Waltobd— On ihe Famines of 

Table XI. — Cwrrmry Restriction*, Legislative and Othenoise — Conld. 

Tl .i'ii follows n. detailed description of the coin, as also of a new 
issue of tcnpenny und fivepenny tokens dated this year. Then there 
an' penalties for niunterfeiting. These tokens might be received in 
puvnienl uf revenue. 

3. The 5a Uwr|* III, cap. 114, "An Act to continue and amend 
1 1..- Ail uf I lie jn. -ent session, to prevent the issuing and circulating 
of pieces of gold and silver or other metals, usually called toketu, 
except such an are issued by the Banks of England and Ireland 
resjioethvly "■ — o* tended the period at which the circulation of tokens 
Tfss to cense until six weeks after the commencement of the next 
session uf purl in meat. 

4, By Hi George. III, cap. 4, the period for staying the circula- 
tion of token* (other than those of the Banks of England and 
Ireland) wiis extended to six weeks after the commencement of the 
then next session of parliament. 

Mr. S. T. Gallon published, " Chart, Exhibiting the relation between 
the amount of Hunk of England notes in circulation, the rate of 
Foreign Exchangee, the Prices of Gold and Silver, Bullion and 
There was also published, Further Considerations on the State of the 

Currency. l!v Lord Lauderdale. 8vo., Edinburgh. 
There was published, " Cobbett's paper against gold, containing the 
history uinl mystery of tie Bank of England, the funds, the debt, the 
sinking fund, the bank stoppage, the lowering and the raising of the 
value on paper money, and showing that taxation, pauperism, poverty, 
misen . and crimes hare all increased and ever most increase with a 
funding «ystera." 
There was enacted 56 George III, cap. 68 — " An Act to provide for a 
new silver ei«i i age, and to regulate the currency of the gold and silver 
coin of this realm" — which recites i— 

" Whereas the silver coins of the realm have by long nse and other 
rirciimstanee* Kvome greatly diminished in number and deteriorated 
in value, so as not to be sufficient for the payments required in 
dealings under t lie value of the current gold coins, by reason whereof 
a great <|t»nility of light and counterfeit silver coin and foreign coin 
has been in I rod need into circulation within this realm ; and the evils 
resulting therefrom can onlv be remedied by a new coinage of Bilver 
ntoncv to be mn.le und issued under proper regulations for maintaining 
its value and preserving the same in circulation." 

The Act of 1 (W6 was then in part repealed, and also so much of 
lftl5-iHi (cap. 11 ; "and also so much of all and every other Act and 
Acts as deeUre. enact or provide that the weight and truenesa pre- 
scribed by any indenture therefore made with his majesty's master 
and worker for nuking of silver monies at the Tower of London shall 
be and remain to be the standard of and for the lawful silver coin of 
ihe kingdom." 

ll was enacted that the pound troy of standard silver, n ounce* 

J penny weights vine silver, and tft pennvweighta of alloy might be 

coined into no>». Also that the old coinage of the realm brought to the 

mini might t> .v. hanged for its full nominal value in new silver coin. 

1. By ST George 111, eap. W — ** An Act to prevent the issuing of 

"• other nwval . usually railed tokens" — it is recited : — 

'U* pieoes of copper and mixed metals composed in 

ally denominated tokens, have lately been, and an 

cTvnlated, by perso ns residing in various parte of the 

if(*MB, in great quantities as nxmev, and for a nominal 

Ihe aaetals of which they are eeenposed" ; And whereas it is 

that the fwrther aakjag and issuing of snoh tokens should 

*■■* waA that the eo«*n^ataon «f those already mads or 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise— Contd. 


1817 •• 

lo .... 

'21 .... 

'21 .... 

'25 .... 

It is then enacted that from and after the passing of this Act, no 
piece of copper or mixed metal composed in part of copper, of what- 
ever value the same might be, should be made or manufactured, or 
originally issued as a token for money, or as purporting that the 
bearer or holder thereof was entitled to demand any value denoted 
thereon, either by letters, words, figures, marks or otherwise, whether 
such value was to be paid or given in money or goods, or in any 
manner whatsoever. And penalties were imposed upon the circula- 
tion of any such tokens after 1st January, 1828. It was further 
recited : — 

" III. And whereas certain tokens made of copper or of a mixed 
metal composed partly of copper, and bearing the subscription 
' Sheffield Penny Token, 1 were issued from time to time during the 
years 1812, 1813, 1814, and 1815, by the overseers of the poor of the 
township of Sheffield, in the county of York ; and whereas the imme- 
diate suppression of the circulation of the aforesaid tokens would be 
attended with great loss to the said township of Sheffield, and to the 
holders thereof, who are for the most part labourers and mechanics, 
as well as with great inconvenience to the inhabitants of the town of 
Sheffield and the neighbourhood thereof." 

These Sheffield penny tokens were therefore to be allowed to 
circulate until 25th March, 1823. And it was further recited : — 

" VI. And whereas certain other tokens made of copper, or of a 
mixed metal composed partly of copper, and bearing the superscription 
Birmingham One Penny,' were issued from time to time during 
the years 1812-15, by the overseers of the poor of the parish 
of Birmingham, in the county of Warwick ; and whereas the imme- 
diate suppression of the circulation of the aforesaid tokens would be 
attended with great loss to the said parish of Birmingham, and to 
the holders thereof, as well as great inconvenience to the inhabitants 
of the town of Birmingham and the neighbourhood thereof." 

All such tokens to be called in before 25th March, 1820. 

2. By 57 G-eorge III, cap. 113 — " An Act to prevent the further 
circulation of dollars and tokens issued by the governor and company 
of the Bank of England, for the convenience of the public " — the Acts 
of 1804 and 1811 are recited : — 

" And whereas, in consequence of the recent circulation of the new 
current silver coin, it becomes unnecessary any longer to continue the 
said dollars and tokens in circulation, and it is expedient to prohibit 
further circulation thereof after a time to be limited." 

The circulation was therefore to cease after 25th March, 1818; 
but they might be presented to the Bank of England for payment up 
to 25th March, 1820, and might be disposed of for old silver at the 
current price of silver. 
The Act of last session (chapter 113) was by 58 George III, cap. 14, 
altered to the extent that the tokens might be employed up to 
5th April, 1819, in payment of government dues, taxes, &c. 
A series of tables, exhibiting the gain and loss to the fundholders 
arising from the late fluctuations in the value of the currency from 
1800 to 1821. By Robert Musket, Esq. Second edition. London. 
Mr. J. C. McCulloch contributed to the Edinburgh Review a paper, 
" On Pernicious Effects of Degrading the Standard of Money," 
Article XI, July, 1821. A most excellent article, from which I have 
drawn some contributions for this paper. 
The 6 George IV, cap. 98 — " An Act to prevent the further circula- 
tion of tokens issued by the governor and company of the Bank of 
Ireland, for the convenience of the public, and for defraying the 
expense of exchanging such tokens " — recites the issuing of the said 
tokens under the authority of the Acts already reviewed*. — 

lt And whereas in consequence of the xecent i&aue> oi «. txstw cwxtsofc 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XI. — Currency Restrictions, Legislative and Otherwise — Contd. 


1825 .... silver coin in Ireland, it becomes unnecessary any longer to continue 

the said tokens in circulation, and it is expedient to prohibit the 

further circulation thereof after a time to be limited." 

The said tokens were not to circulate after 5th January, 1726, find 

the Bank of Ireland was not to be compelled after that date to 

redeem them at their nominal value. They might after that date be 

sold as old silver. 

Tho Treasury was to issue a sum not exceeding foo,oooi. to 

exchange for or buy up the said tokens. 

And so ended the circulation of tokens, which had probably for 

several centuries played a more or less important part in our national 

The coinage of Ireland assimilated to that of England. 
The Duke of Wellington estimated the gold coinage at 28,000,000^., 

and tho remainder of the metallic currency at 13,000,000/. ; total, 

An Historical Inquiry into the Production and Consumption of the 

Precious Metals. By William Jacob, Esq., F.R.S. 2 vols. " Though 

perhaps the best on the subject, the work is very defective." — 

There was published, " Money and its Vicissitudes in Value, as they 

affect National Industry and Pecuniary Contracts ; with a Postscript 

on Joint Stock Banks/' (See 1857.) 
Mr. James Wilson published, " Influence of the Corn Laws, as affecting 

all Classes, and particularly the Landed Interests." 8vo. Second 

There was published, A Letter to Kirkman Finlay, Esq., on the 

Importation of Foreign Corn, and tho Value of the Precious Metals 

in Different Countries. By James Pennington, Esq. London. 8vo. 
The Philosophy of Trade — An examination of the principles which 

determine the relative value of Corn, Labour, and Currency. By 

Patrick James Stirling. 8vo. 
Mr. William Newmarch, F.R.S., published, " The new Supplies of Gold: 

Facts and Statements relative to their actual amount, and their 

present and probable effects." 
Mr. Charles Jellicoe contributed to the Assurance Magazine, of which 

lie was then editor, a short paper, " Comparative Value of Gold in 

different Countries," wherein he points out that while the ounce of 

standard gold is valued at 3Z. 17*. lo^d., one-twelfth of it being 

alloy, the ounce of pure gold will be worth one-eleventh more, making 

'57 .... There was published, " Money and its Vicissitudes in Value, as they 

affect Industry and Pecuniary Contracts," by the author of a 

" Critical DisHertation on Value, &c. 8vo. (See 1837.) 

'59 .... There was published a now widely known work, " On the probable 
Fall in the value of Gold : tho commercial and social consequences 
which may ensue, and the measures which it invites." By Michael 
Chovalier, translated from tho French, with preface by Richard 
Cobden, Esq. 

'63 .... There was published by Professor Jevons, " A serious Fall in the 
Value of Gold ascertained, and its Local Effects set forth." With 
two diagrams. 

'65 .... There appeared in the Journal of the Statistical Society of London, 
vol. xxviii, p. 294, a paper " On the Variation of Prices and Value of 
the Curroncy since 1782." By W. Stanley Jevons, &c. 

'66 .... Mr. Charles Willich published a table showing (inter alia) the price of 
consols, tho bank rate of discount, and the price of wheat from 
July, 1844 (passing of Bank Charter Act) to May, 1866. 

'69 .... " Letter on the Value of Gold." Economist, 8th May. Reprinted in 
the Statistical Journal, vol. xxxii, p. 445. 









the World : Past and Present 225 

XI. — Speculation. 

In my remarks upon legislative interference (in section 9 of this 
paper), I have shown how it became incumbent to enact Jaws against 
" speculation " in grain and other food stuffs, known technically as 
forestalling, engrossing, regrating, &c. It was a necessary prop to 
uphold a tottering and unsound system of legislative interference 
with commercial affairs. These laws were in their nature arbitrary, 
and could only be tolerated because they appeared to be made in 
the interest of the people. That their design was in this direction 
is manifest, and it seems clear that the people so regarded them, or 
they never could have been continued throughout so many centuries ; 
and would not have been renewed, extended, and supplemented as 
they were from time to time in parliament. It must be always 
assumed that any legislation which appears to secure cheap food for 
the people will be popular with the masses, however unjust and 
tyrannical as against individuals or classes. 

It may indeed be that there were in operation in the past causes, 
which, while we cannot realise them now, seemed to justify even all 
these laws attempted to accomplish ; or it may simply be that such 
laws, originated in defiance of all known principles of political 
economy, were allowed to continue in a like spirit of defiance. It 
is certain that Adam Smith and his followers did kill them out, 
although they died a very hard death, as reference to the conclud- 
ing portion of Table XII will make apparent. 

I have looked with curiosity, bordering upon anxiety, for a 
writer who should defend these laws on any principle of rational 
argument ; but have not found one. In my search, however, I did 
discover a document — nothing less than a report by a select parlia- 
mentary committee of the House of Commons, from which I 
propose to quote certain passages for the edification of all whom 
they may now concern or interest. 

" A report from the committee who (upon the 8th day of February, 
1764) were appointed to inquire into the causes of the present 
high price of provisions, with the proceedings of the house there- 
upon. Published by order of the House of Commons. " (Folio 
pp. 6.) From this document I take the following passages : — 

" Mr. Winter, Orton and Jones, agreed in stating the present price of the best 
beef to be $d. per pound to the vendor, which is about one \d. dearer than beef 
of the same goodness has usually been in the month of March for some years 
past; to which point the committee brought all the witnesses in giving their 
evidence : imagining it to be necessary, in determining a comparative price, to 
adhere to the same month, and to meat of the same goodness. 

" The witnesses stated the present price of the choice pieces of the best beef to 
be, to the customer, qd. and $\d. per pound ; the best pieces of inferior beef 3d. 
or lid; and the coarser pieces of beef in general from ijrf. to z\d. and a}d. 
which is ±d. dearer than the same have usually been in the month of March. . . " 

226 Walford — On the Famines of 

" The same witnesses admit the present price of mutton also to be higher than 
it used to be in March, but they state the increase differently from \d. to a \d. 
per pound." 

In view of discovering the causes of this increase of price, the 
committee examined several " eminent " meat salesmen, who alleged, 
first, the increased demand in London, which on being pressed they 
could not sustain, next : — 

" They then acconnted for this increase of the price of meat by the want of 
pork at market, proceeding from the great plenty of acorns in 1762, which 
induced all the Feeders to Fatten their whole Stock of Hogs in that year, which 
extraordinary slaughter they allege is not yet replaced ; and that the want of one 
article in the General Provisions of so populous a City as London has necessarily 
advanced the Prices of other Species. The whole Demand acting upon the whole 
Quantity of the different sorts of Provisions as upon one and the same Subject. 

" They added also, that the wet season had much lessened the Weight of even 
Fat Cattle ; that the great Scarcity of Fodder in 1762, had reduced the Breed 
and Stock ; and that the failure in the Crop of Turnips in several Counties this 
year, had prevented those Counties fattening the usual quantities of Beasts. They 
assigned also the low price of Hides and Tallow as an additional Reason. But 
upon further examination, all the Salesmen and Butchers admitted that the present 
High Price is not entirely or exclusively the effect of Natural Causes, but an 
Artificial Price, resulting from Combinations, and the want of better Regulations 
for the sale of Cattle in Open Markets'* 

They fell back upon the evils of engrossing and forestalling, and 
on this point I have already quoted from this same report in the 
following table. 

Note. — In 1362 (36 Edward III) a petition was presented to the king, which 
complained " that great mischiefs had newly arisen, as well to the king as to the 
great men and commons, from the merchants Grocers, who engrossed all manner 
of merchandise vendible, and who suddenly raised the prioe of such merchandise 
within the realm ; putting to sale by covin and by ordinances made among them- 
selves in their own society, which they called the ' Fraternity and Gild of 
Merchants/ such merchandises as were most dear, and keeping in store the others 
until times of dearth and scarcity." The " Fraternity " here complained of is now 
the famous " Company of Grocers " in the city of London, originally a " Craft 
Gild." — English Gilds, p. cxxiii. 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles of Food, known as 
"Engrossing" "Forestalling" and " Regrating" 





In the Judicium Pillorie (the judgment of the pillory), attributed to 
this date (51 Henry III), is contained, among the offences for which 
persons are to " suffer this judgment of the body," the following : — 

" And also f orestallers that buy anything afore the [due and ac- 
customed hour] against the regulation [good state and weal] of the 
town and market, or that pass out of this town to meet such things 
as come to the market [and buy] out of the town, to the intent that 
they may sell the same in the town more dear to regrators [that 
utter it more dear] than they would that bought it, in case they had 
come to the [town or] market." 
The Liber Albus declares (inter alia), the following to be articles of 
ancient usage, in the city of London, " that ought each year, after 
the feast of St. Michael, to be proclaimed throughout the said city." 

Of Forestallers. "And that no dealer, denizen, or stranger, whoever 
he may be, shall go to meet dealers coming by land or by water with 
their merchandise and victuals towards the city, to buy or to sell, 
until such time as they shall have arrived at the said city, and have 
put up their merchandise for sale; under forfeiture of the article 
sold, and pain of imprisonment. ... 

" And that no merchant, denizen, or stranger, whoever he may be, 
shall go to the pole [i.e. Pool, from the tower to Limehouse], or any 
other place in the Thames, to meet wines or other merchandise, or go 
on board of vessels to buy wines or other things, until such time as 
they shall have come to land, under pain of losing the article." 

Of Regrators. " And that no regrator of corn, of fish, or of 
poultry, shall buy provisions for resale, before the hour of prime rung 
at St. Paul's j or before the substantial men of the land and of the 
city shall have bought their provisions, under pain of losing the 
article bought. 

" And that no market shall be held upon London bridge, but [only] 
elsewhere in the city where they are established, under pain of losing 
the article [sold]. 

"Also it is forbidden that if any one shall be so daring as to go on 
board of vessels or boats that bring scallops, mussels, welks, and 
cockles, or any other victuals, when they have arrived, for the purpose 
of regrating the same, under pain [of losing] the article. But the 
same shall stand for common sale by him who shall have bought 
such wares, that so the community may be served without regrators ; 
*and under this pain of losing the article. And if any such person 
shall be found, he shall be heavily punished." 
In the Statutum de Pistoribus (statute concerning bakers, &c), some- 
times attibuted to 51 Henry III, but more generally to 13 Edward I, 
which latter we adopt, is contained the following, denning forestallers 
and awarding their punishment : 

" But especially be it commanded on the behalf of our lord the king, 
that no forestaller be suffered to dwell in any town, who is an open 
oppressor of the poor people, and [of all the commonality, and an 
enemy of the whole shire and county, who, for greediness of his private 
gain, doth prevent others in buying grain, fish, herrings, or any other 
thing to be sold coming by land or water] oppressing the poor and 
deceiving the rich [who carrieth away such things intending to sell 
them more dear], the which come to merchants, strangers, that 
bring merchandise, offering them to buy, and informing them that 
their goods might be dearer sold than they intended to sell ; and 
[by that means unjustly goeth about to sell the things much dearer 
than he who brought them] an whole town or county is deceived by 
such craft and subtlety. 

"He that is convict thereof, the first time shall be [amerced], shall 
lose the thing so bought, and that according to the customs and 


Walford— On the Famines of 






Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 

ordinance of the town ; he that is conviet the second time shall hare 
judgment of the pillory ; at the third time he shall be imprisoned 
and make fine ; the fourth time he shall abjure the town. And this 
judgment shall be given upon all manner of forestalled, and likewise 
upon them that have given them counsel, help, or favour." 
By 12 Edward II (Statute of [Ebor] York), cap. 6, no officer in any 
city or borough, who ought by his office to keep assise of wine and 
victuals, should trade therein during his term of office. 

There is understood to have been an Act passed either in this or 
one of the preceding reigns, intituled, " No forestaller shall be suffered 
to dwell in any town." 
The 23 Edward III, cap. 6, contains some provisions indirectly 

affecting regrators (see Table IX). 
By 25 Edward III, statute 4, cap. 2 — " The penalty of him that doth 
forestall wares, merchandise, or victual " — it is enacted : 

" Item — And it is accorded and established, that the forestallers of 
wines and other victuals, wares, and merchandise that come to the 
good towns of England by land or water, in damage of our lord 
the king and his people, if they be thereof attainted at the suit of 
the king, or of the party, before mayor, bailiffs, or justices, thereto 
assigned, or elsewhere in the king's court ; and if they be attainted at 
the king's suit by indictment, or in any other manner, the things 
forestalled shall be forfeited to the king, if the buyer thereof hath 
made free to the seller ; and if he have not made free of all, but by 
earnest, the buyer shall incur the forfeiture of as much as the fore- 
stalled goods do amount to, after the value as he bought them, if he 
have whereof ; and if he have not whereof, then he shall have two 
years' imprisonment and more, at the king's will, without being let to 
mainprise, or delivered in other manner ; and if he be attainted at 
the suit of the party, the party shall have one-half of such things 
forestalled and forfeit, or the price, of the king's gift, and the king 
the other half." 
By 27 Edward III, statute 1, cap. 3, it was enacted: 

"Item — For the great and outrageous dearth of victuals which 
hostelers, herbingers, and other regrators of victuals make through 
the realm, to the great damage of the people paying through the 
realm, it is accorded and established, that the justices, learned in the 
law, who be good and convenient, shall be newly chosen to inquire of 
the deeds and outrages of such hostelers, regrators, labourers, and all 
other comprised in the statute another time thereof made and them 
to punish, and moreover to do right to the king and his people; 
saving always to every lord and other their franchises in all points." 

Chapter 5 of the same statute made it felony to forestall, or 
ingross Gascoin wine. 

Same year the 27 Edward III, statute 1, cap. 11, enacted as follows : — 

"Item — We have ordained and established that all merchants, 
aliens, and denizens, and other that do bring wine and other wares, 
or merchandises whatever they be to the staples, cities, boroughs, aud 
good towns, or to ports of the sea, within our said realm and lands, 
may safely and without challenge and impeachment to any, sell them 
in gross or at retail, or by parcels at their will, to all manner of 
people that will buy the same ; and that no merchant, privy, nor 
stranger, nor other of what condition that he be, go by land nor by 
water to encounter such wines, wares, or merchandises, coming into 
our said realm and lands, in the sea, nor elsewhere, to forestall or 
buy them, or in other manner to give earnest upon them, before that 
they come to the staples, or to the port where they shall be dis- 
charged, nor enter into the ships for such cause, till the merchandise 
be set to land to be sold, upon the pains and forfeiture contained in 
the same third article aforesaid" 


the World ; Past and Present. 





Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd, 

The penalties imposed by the third chapter of this Act were " life, 
and member," i.e., life and limb. 
By the 28 Edward III, cap. 13, it was enacted — 

" And that no manner of ship, which is fraught towards England or 
elsewhere, be compelled to come to any port of England, nor here to 
abide, against the will of the master and mariners of the same, or of 
the merchants whose the goods be ; and if such ships come of their 
own good will, or be driven by tempest or other misfortune or 
mischief, to any port in England, and the masters, mariners, or mer- 
chants of the same ships will sell or deliver part. Part of their mer- 
chandise, with their good will, it shall be lawful for every man to 
buy such merchandise freely without impeachment in the port 
where such ships shall come, albeit the said merchandise be not put 
to land to sell ; so always that no merchant nor other shall go by land 
nor by water to meet such ship charged with merchandise to forstall 
the same merchandises, or to give earnest upon them by way of 
The 31 Edward III, statute 2 — " An ordinance made concerning the 
selling of herrings," recited as follows : — 

" Forasmuch as the commons of the realm of England, at the 
parliament holden at Westminster on Monday next after the week of 
Easter, the year of the reign of our lord the King Edward III of 
England xxxi, and of France xviii, have complained them to our 
lord the king because that the people of Great Yarmouth do encumber 
the fishers bringing herring to the said town in the time of the fair, 
and do buy and forestall the herring before they do come to the town ; 
and also the hostelers of the same town that lodge the fishers coming 
thither with their herring will not suffer the said fishers to sell their 
said herring, nor meddle with the sale thereof, but sell them at their 
own will as dear as they will, and give to the fishers that pleaseth 
them, whereby the fishers do withdraw themselves to come thither ; 
and so is the herring set at much greater price than ever it was, to 
the damage, to the great damage of our lord the king, of the lords, 
and of all the people : wherefore our lord the king seeing the 
mischief in this behalf, by the assent of the great men and all the 
commons, hath ordained and established remedy upon the said 
mischiefs, in the form as followeth : — 

" I. First, that no herring be bought or sold in the sea, till the 
fishers be come unto the haven with their herring, and the cable of 
the ship be down to the land. 

" II. Item — That the fishers be free to sell their herring to all that 
come to the fair of Great Yarmouth without any disturbance of their 
hostelers, or any other j and when the fishers will sell their mer- 
chandises in the port, they shall have their hostelers with them, if 
they there will be, and in their presence, and in the presence of other 
merchants, openly shall sell their merchandises to whomsoever they 
please ; and if any other merchants present are willing to have part, 
let every one who claims have his part for the price, after the rate 
of the same merchandise so sold ; and the said sale shall be made 
from the sun rising till the sun going down, and not before and not 
after, upon forfeiture of the same merchandises : and that the said 
fishers be free to buy their victuals, and that which they need, where 
it shall please them. And that no hostelers, nor other, buy any herring 
for to hang in their houses by covin, nor in other manner at an higher 
price the last than 40*. ; but less in as much as he may, according as 
he may agree with the seller ; and that no hostelers nor any of their 
servants, nor any other whatsoever he be, coming to the said fair, 
shall go by land nor by sea to forestall herring privily nor openly, 
but the herring shall come freely unsold into the haven : nor that any 
rover make buying of fresh herring in the ho\i&e& oi Ywrouro&L, 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles —Contd. 


1357 .... 

»60 .... 
63 .... 

78 ... 

83 ... 

betwixt the feasts of St. Michael and St. Martin, upon pain of 
imprisonment at the king's will, and to forfeit all the herring so 
bought. And that no vessel called pyker [rover], of London, nor of 
none other place, shall enter into the said haven to abate the fair 
in damage of the people, upon the pain of forfeiture of their vessel 
and all their chattels found within." 

The later portion of this statute (which, was to extend to all the 
towns in England wherein herring is taken) enacted the price at which 
herring were to be sold, as given in Table IX. 
The last-named ordinance was very much modified this year, see 

Table IX. 
The 37 Edward III — "A statute concerning diet and apparel/' 
recites : — 

" V. Item — For the great mischiefs that have happened as well as to 
the king, as to the great men and commons, of that that the merchants, 
called grocers, do ingross all manner of merchandise vendible ; and 
suddenly do enhance the price of such merchandise within the 
realm, putting to sale by covin and ordinance made betwixt them, 
called the Fraternity and Gild of Merchants, the merchandise which 
be most dear, and keep in store the other, till the time that dearth or 
scarcity be of the same : it is ordained, that no English merchant 
shall use no ware nor merchandise by him nor by other, nor by no 
manner of covin, but only one, which he shall choose betwixt this 
and the Feast of Candlemas next ensuing." 

Surveyors, consisting of " good people and lawful of every mer- 
chandise," were to be appointed to see to the due carrying out of these 

The Act of this year was repealed by 38 Edward III, cap. 2 (1363-64), 
under which all buying and selling was declared free, with certain 
reservations mentioned in Table X. 
By 2 Richard II, statute 1, cap. 2, it was ordained and established that 
the statute made in the time of King Edward, the grandfather, the 
twenty-fifth year of his reign, of forestallers of wines, wares, and 
merchandise which come to the good towns within the realm by land 
or by water, should be hold en and firmly kept at all points, and put 
in due execution, for the common profit of the said realm. 
By 6 Richard II, statute 1, cap. 11, it was ordained as follows : — 
Item. — It is ordained, that all manner of hosts, as well in the city of 
London, and the towns of Great Yarmouth, Scarborough, Winchelsea, 
and Rye, as also in certain other towns and places upon the coast of 
the sea and elsewhere through all the said realm, as well within the 
liberties as without, shall from henceforth utterly cease to be amoved 
from the noyance and wicked deeds and forestallings ; and in 
especially they be inhibited by our sovereign lord the king, that they 
nor none of them, upon the pain that belongeth, shall any further 
intromit to embrace herring or any fish or other victuals, under the 
colour of any custom, ordinance, privilege, or charter before made or 
had to the contrary, which by tenour of these presents be utterly 
repealed ; or privily or aferlty do, or procure to be done any impedi- 
ment to any fishers or victuallers, denizens or aliens being of the king's 
country, whereby they or any of them be compelled to sell their fish 
or other victuals, but where and when, and to any person whatsoever 
they will within the said realm at their pleasure. And moreover, it 
is especially inhibited to all and singular the said hosts, that none of 
them upon the pain aforesaid intromit from henceforth [of buying, 
selling, or covenenting] any manner sea fish fresh to the use of any 
fishmonger, or other citizen of the said city of London ; and likewise 
it is inhibited to all fishmongers and other citizens of the same city of 
London, that none of them upon the same pain, far from the city or 
near the same, from henceforth. Vrj a,nv sea fish fresh, nor of the fresh 

the World : Past and Present 



Table XIL — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 

water, to sell again in the same city except eels fresh and luces and 
pykes, which shall be and remain in common as well to denizens as 
foreigners, to buy or sell, so that nevertheless the denizens shall in no 
wise let the foreigners within the same city, to sell such fish, as often as 
they shall bring or cause to be brought the same fishes to the said city. 

Other statutes against the forestalling of fish will follow. 
1464 .... There was an Act of the parliament of Ireland, 8 Edward IV, cap. 2 — 
" An Act against engrossers and regrators of Corn," as follows : — 

*' Whereas diverse persons having themselves great abundance of 
all manner of corn, have used to buy to the common market great 
store of corn to granell up the same to sell upon a dearth, and also 
diverse other persons called badgers, have used to goe to one market 
and have bought great store of wheat and corne at one price, and 
shortly after have taken the same corne into another market, and have 
there sold at' a more deer price by two pence or four pence in the 
bushel, which hath been the greatest means of dearth within this 
land, and the great and intolerable hurt oj the poor inhabitants of 
this land of Ireland. Therefore it is ordained and established by the 
authority of the said parliament, that no man having sufficient store 
of corne of his own, shall bug any manner of come in the common 
market, nor that no other person nor persons called badgers shall buy 
any manner of corne in the form aforesaid, upon such payn as is made 
against the regrators in the king's market, and they and every one of 
them to be judged in the law as common regrators in the market. 
Also that it shall not be lawful to no man (sic), of whatever condition 
soever he be, which will buy any manner of corne in the common 
market to sell the same againe in the same market, nor in no other 
market, upon pain to be adjudged in law as a common regrator in the 
1503.... There was enacted in the parliament of Scotland (cap. 31), a statute 
"of malt mekaris in Burrow Towns/' understood to be directed 
against engrossing. 

2. The 25 Henry VIII, cap. 2, " Proclamations for the prices of 
victuals, viz., the prizing of them, and proclaiming the prices," which 
recites : " Forasmuch as dearth, scarcity, good, cheap, and plenty, of 
cheese, butter, capons, hens, chickens, and other victuals necessary for 
man's sustenance, happeneth, riseth, and chanceth of so many and 
divers occasions that it is very hard and difficult to put any certain 
prices to any such things (2), and yet nevertheless the prices of such 
victuals be many times enhanced and raised by the greedy covetous- 
ness and appetites of the owners of such victuals, by occasion of 
ingrowing and regrating the same, more than upon any reasonable or 
just ground or cause, to the great damage and impoverishing of the 
king's subjects." 

For remedy whereof it was enacted that the king's councillors, justices, 
and officers, should have power and authority from time to time as the 
case shall require, to set and tax reasonable prices of all such kinds of 
victuals above specified, how they shall be sold iu gross, or by retail, 
for the relief of the king's subjects ; and that after such prices set 
and taxed in form aforesaid, proclamation shall be made in the 
king's name, under the great seal, of the said prices in such parts of 
the realm as should be convenient for the same. Then the following : — 

" II. And be it enacted, That all fermors, owners, broggers, and 
all other victuallers whatsoever having or keeping any of the kinds of 
victuals afore rehearsed, to the intent to sell, shall sell the same to 
such of the king' 8 subjects as will buy them, at such prices as shall be 
set and taxed by the said proclamation, upon the pains to be expressed 
and limited in the said proclamation, to be lost, forfeited, and levied 
to the king's use, in such wise as by the same proclamation shall be 


Walford — On the Famines of 






Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Article* — Contd. 

"III. Provided always, that this Act or anything therein contained, 
shall not be hurtful to mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, or other officers of 
cities, boroughs, or towns corporate, or to any other person or persons, 
or bodies politick, having authority to set prices of such victuals, or of 
any of them ; hut that they and every of them may set prices thereof 
as tf this Act had never been had nor made. 11 

Then there is a provision against transporting victuals out of the 
real in without license. See Table X. 
An Act of the [>arliament of 8cotland t cap. 26, was passed this year 

and entitulcd " off forstallaris." 
There were several Acts made in the parliament of Scotland this year 
being against forestalling, &c, viz. : 1 (cap. 16), " For eschewing of 
dearth of wittallis, fleschu and fysche." 2 (cap. 18), " For stanching 
of derth and prices of wyne, salt, and tynmer." 8 (cap. 32) 
" Anentis forstallaris." 
The 3 and 4 Edward VI, cap. 19 — " An Act for buying and selling of 
rother beasts and cattle," enacted as follows : 

"Ho ft enacted by the authority of this present parliament, that 
no person or persons at any time from and after the Feast of the 
Annunciation of our Lord next coming, shall buy or commence and 
conclude to buy any manner of oxen, steers, ronts, kine, heffiers or 
calves, but only in the open fair or market, when the same shall 
happen to be brought and put to sale, and not sell the same again 
alive at and in the market or fair where he bought the same, during 
the time of the said fair or market, upon pain of forfeiture of the 
double value of such cattle bought or sold contrary to the tenor of 
this present Act." 

By clause 2 there was exception in favour of persons buying for 
their household, farm or dairy ; then 

" And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that no 
person being a butcher, and using the craft or mystery of butchery, 
shall at any time after the said feast buy any fat oxen steers, ronts, 
kine, heifers, calves or sheep, and sell or cause to be sold the same 
again alive, upon pain of forfeiture of every such ox, Ac., bargained 
or sold contrary to the form of this present Act." 

Butchers might buy fat oxen, &c, in open market at their freewill, 
but were not to sell the same again alive (see 1603). 

By the 3 and 4 Edward VI, cap. 21 — " An Act for the buying and 
selling of Butter and Cheese " — it was enacted, " that no person or 
persons after the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lady next 
corning, shall buy or sell again any butter or cheese, unless he or they 
sell the same again by retail in open shop, fair or market, and not in 
gross, upon I mi in of forfeiture of the double value of the same butter 
and cheese so sold contrary to the tenor of this present Act. 

2. " Provided alway, that this Act or anything therein contained 
shall not extend to any innholder or victualer for such butter or 
cheese as shall he spent or uttered by retail in any of their houses." 

3. " Provided always . . . that the said word of retail mentioned in 
this Act shall be expounded, declared, and taken only where a waye 
of cheese, or a barrel of butter, or of less quantity and not above, 
shall be sold at any one time to any person or persons in open shop, 
fair, or market, and that to be done without fraud or covin.' 

This Act was continued by 2 James I, cap. 25, section 3 (1604). 
The 5 and 6 Edward VI, cap. 14 — " An Acto againste regratolirs, 
forestallors, and engrossers," recited, "albeit, divers good statutes 
heretofore made against forestalled of merchandise and victuals, 
yet for that good laws and statutes against regratours and engrossers 
of the same things have not heretofore sufficiently made and provided, 
and also for that it \\at\v i\ot been perfectly known what person 
/ should be taken for a iorefttaXtar, YegrotoT, ox et^groirct, tta said 

the World : Past and Present 





Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 

statutes had not taken good effect," wherefore these were severally 
defined to be — 1. Forestalled, persons buying goods or victuals on 
their way to a market or port ; or contracting to buy the same before 
actually brought for sale ; or endeavouring to enhance the price, or 
prevent the supply. 2. Regrators, persons buying corn, victuals, &c., 
and reselling them in the same market place, or within 4 miles 
thereof. 3. Ingrossers, persons buying growing corn, or buying 
victuals to sell again. But under section 10 persons, might " engross " 
corn, " not forestalling " it, if at or under certain prices per quarter, 
viz., wheat 6s. %d., barley and malt 3*. 4/?., oats is. f pease and 
beans 4*., rye, &c, 3 s. By section 12, inhabitants within one mile of 
the sea might buy fish fresh and salt to resell. Section 13, drovers 
might buy cattle, to resell them in markets 40 miles distant ; being 
annually licensed by justices of the peace. 

Many of the provisions of this statute were very remarkable, and 
deserve a more detailed analysis than our space here will allow (see 
1570) . 
By 2 and 3 Philip and Mary, cap. 15 — " An Act that purueiours shall 
not take victuals within fiue miles of Cambridge and Oxford " — the 
preamble of which is as follows : — 

" Hvmbly sue to your maiesties, the societies, colledges, and com- 
panies of your true and faithfull subjects, and daily oratours, the 
scholers and students of both your maiesties vniuersities, Cambridge 
and Oxford, that where it hath beene accustomed time out of mind, 
that both the said market townes of Cambridge and Oxford, wherein 
the said two vniuersities be set, and the circuit of fiue miles next 
adjoyning, hath beene free from any charge or molestation of any 
common takers, or purueiours for victuall, whereby the said markets 
were more plentifully serued with victuall, and the poore estate of a 
great multitude of scholers, hauing very bare and small sustentatioh, 
thereby relieued, and now by the meanes that contrary to the same 
laudable custome, diuers purueiours and takers haue of late 
excessiuely frequented the same market, and thereby giuen occasion 
to make victuals more skant, and much dearer, to a notorious decay 
of scholars, which also daily in this great dearth is like to increase, 
and be more lamentable, to the hindrance of God's sendee, the dis- 
honour of the realme, and discomfort of all good and holy men 
louing learning and uertue. 

" II. It may therefore please your Maiesties, of your great pitie and 
abundant fauor and loue towards jour said two vniuersities, being 
the very two onely nurses of good learning in the realme, with the 
assent of the Lords spirituall and temporall, &c, &c." 

And it is then enacted " that from hencefoorth, no manner of 
purueiour, taker, lodger, or other minister, may, or shall take or 
bargaine for any kinde of victuall or graine, in any of the said 
markets or towhes of Cambridge, and the citie of Oxford, nor shall 
take or bargaine for any victuall within the compasse of fiue miles 
thereto adjoyning, without the consent, agreement or goodwill of the 
owner or owners, neither shall attempt to carrie, take awaie, or 
bargaine for any manner of graine, or other victuall brought or 
prouided within the said space of fiue miles, by any common minister 
of any colledges hostell, or hall, to bee spent within any of the said 
colledges, hostels, or hals, vpon peine of the forfeiture of the quad- 
ruple value of any such maner graine or victuall so taken or bargained 
for ; " and for any such offence should suffer imprisonment " for the 
space of three moneths, without baile or maineprise." The finding 
might be by jury empanelled by the " Chancellour, Uicechancellour, 
or his commissarie for the time being," with two " iustices of the 
peace of the countie wherein the vniversaries be set." 

" III. Prouided, that this Act shall not be put in execution at any 


Walfobd — On the Famines of 











Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 

time or times, whensoeuer jour majesties, or the heires or successors 
of your majestie our Souereigne Ladie, shall please to come to any 
or both the said yniuersities, or within seuen miles of either of them, 
but shall be in suspense during that time onely and no longer." 

Nothing in the said Act was to be in any wise " preiudiciall or 
hurtfull to the maior, bayliffes and communaltie " of the said 
cities and borough. See Table IX (1757) . 

There was also an enactment made in the parliament of Scotland 
this year (cap. 35), " Anent the disposition of wyne, salt, ane symmer 
brocht into the realm. " 

By 13 Elizabeth, cap. 21, it was again enacted that purveyors should 
not take away grain, corn, or victuals, within 5 miles of Cambridge 
and Oxford. 

And by 13 Elizabeth, cap. 25 — "An Act for reviving and con- 
tinuance of certain statutes" — it was enacted (sec. 21) " that the Act 
5 and 6 Edward VI, cap. 15, was not meant to extend, nor should 
extend to any wines, oils, sugars, spices, currans, nor other foreign 
victuals, brought or to be brought into this realm from beyond the 
seas ; fish and salt only excepted." 

There was an Act of the parliament of Scotland (cap. 26), "For 
punishment of regrataris and forstallaris." 

By the 31 Elizabeth, cap. 5 — " An Act concerning informers" — it was 
enacted that for any offence comprised in any statute made or to be 
made against engrossing, regrating, or forestalling, where the penalty 
should appear to be of the value of 20/. and above, every such offence 
might be laid in any county at the will of the informer. " 

There was an Act of the parliament of Scotland (cap. 70) intituled, 
" Aganis foirstallers and regraittaris." 

" The king, on account of the high prices of corn, issues out good 
orders against monopolists, who bought up and engrossed grain of 
every species." — Sib Charles Whitworth. 

Regarding the change of policy in now allowing grain to be purchased 
and sold again either in the markets of the kingdom or elsewhere, 
see 21 James I, cap. 28, sec. 3, already quoted in some detail in 
Table X. See also 1663. 

There was an Act of the parliament of Scotland (cap. 280), intituled 
" An Act protecting of manufactories," which was directed against 

The 15 Car. II, cap. 8 — " An Act to prevent the selling of live fatt 
Catle by butchers" — after reciting of the Act of 1549, proceeds : — 

" . . . . Which law hath not wrought such effectuall reformations 
as was intended by reason of the difficultie in the proof of such 
buying and selling, being for the most part at places far distant if 
not in severall countyes, by meanes whereof the parties soe offending 
have escaped unpunished. Be it therefore enacted, &c, That noe 
person using the trade of a butcher shall at any time from and after 
the Feast of St. Michaell the Arch Angell next ensuing, sell, offer, 
or expose to sale in any market or elsewhere, either by himselfe or 
any servant or agent whatsoever, any fatt oxen, steers, runts, kine, 
heifers, calves, sheepe or lambes alive, upon paine to forfeite the 
double value of the cattle soe sold, or offered or exposed for sale as 

See further 1670-71. 
'70-71 By 22 and 23 Car. II, cap. 19, " An Act to prevent fraudes in the 
buying of and selling of cattell in Smithfeild and elsewhere," the 
Acts of 1549 aud 1663 were revived and continued, with the following 
addition : — 

" And bee it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That noe 
jobber, salesman, or other broker or factor, which doe or shall 
cunningly buy ot *eu cataeft. lot ti&sKi \*> «&<rcod or imployed 

the World : Past and Present. 


Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 







either for buying or selling any fatt cattell other than swine or 
calves by or for any butcher, or other person or persons whatsoever, 
within fowerscore males of the cityes of London and Westminster, 
upon paine of the forfeiture of the value of the said cattell soe 
bought or sold for him or them as aforesaid, to be paid by the owner 
of the said cattell. And upon further paine, that all and every person 
and persons taking upon him or them to use or exercise the said 
employment of a jobber or broker, or of a salesman or factor for the 
buying or selling of cattell contrary to this present Act, shall forfeite 
for every such offence the value of all such cattell soe bought or sold 
or exposed to sale by him or them as aforesaid. 

" And be it further enacted, that if any person or persons exercising 
the trade of a butcher within the cityes of London or Westminster, 
or within io miles thereof, shall buy any fatt cattell and sell the 
same againe either alive or dead to any person or persons exercising 
or u seing the same trade, that the seller thereof shall forfeite for 
every such offence the value of such cattell soe bought and sold as 

This clause was repealed in 1672, by Car. II, cap. 4. 
By an Act of the parliament of Ireland, 2 Anne, cap. 15 — " An Act to 
prohibit butchers from being graziers, and to redress several abuses in 
buying and selling of cattle, &c." — it is recited, " Whereas great incon- 
veniences happen in this kingdom by butchers following the trade or 
occupation of graziers, and by their engrossing cattle into their hands 
to sell again to other butchers, and by buying of cattle in fairs and 
markets, and selling them again in the same fair and market.'* For 
remedy whereof it was enacted that no butcher should be a grazier, or 
keep in his possession or in trust for him above 20 acres for cattle, and 
that no butcher in Dublin, or within 5 miles, should sell fat oxen, &c, 
to any other butcher, either dead or alive, nor expose any alive for 
sale within 20 miles of where bought, no cattle or sheep bought in 
any market or fair to be sold or exposed for sale in the same place 
the same day. See 1710. 
The 5 Anne, cap. 34— "An Act for continuing the laws therein men- 
tioned, relating to the poor, and to the buying and selling of cattle 
in Smithfield and for suppressing piracy" — contained the following : — 
" And whereas there is, notwithstanding the provisions of the afore- 
said Act a pernicious practice, now in use, for one butcher to buy a 
greater quantity of fat cattle or sheep than he can vend, unless by selling 
them again to other butchers, which reduces the number of buyers in 
Smithfield, and may be a very great inconvenience both to the graziers 
and housekeepers, by subjecting both the one and the other to such 
price as they shall think fit to give or demand, be it therefore 
enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after the 
29th September, 1707, no person using the trade of a butcher shall 
sell, or offer for sale, in any market or elsewhere, either by himself or 
any servant or agent whatsoever, within the cities of London and 
Westminster, or within 10 miles thereof, to any person or persons 
exercising or using the trade of a butcher, any fat cattle or sheep, 
either alive or dead, upon pain to forfeit the value of the cattle or of 
each sheep so sold or offered to sale as aforesaid/' 
This Act is explained by 7 Anne, cap. 6, to the effect that one butcher 

might sell to another any dead calves, sheep, or lambs. 
By an Act of the parliament of Ireland, 9 Anne, cap. 7, the Act of 
1703 — " which Act by experience hath been found to be in most parts 
of it a good and profitable law in the kingdom — " was continued and 
made perpetual (see 1741 and 1757). 
By an enactment of the parliament of Ireland, 15 George II, cap. 9, the 
Act of 1703 was amended after the following recital : " Akd ^\\ssw»8k 
divers evil-minded persons exercising t"h» tawta oi * \srata2kst ^»\snxs 


Walford— On the Famines of 

Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 


1741 .... 

"MP •»». 

66 «... 

67 .... 




and engross into their hands upon the roads leading to the city of 
Dublin, and in the markets thereof, greater numbers of the best oxen, 
sheen, steers, cows, calves, lambs, and swine, than they can sell by 
retail to the inhabitants of the said city at their shops or stalls, and 
with intent to sell the carcases and joints of such oxen, sheep, steers, 
cows, calves, lambs, and swine to other persons using or exercising the 
same trade or mystery of a butcher, to be sold again in the markets 
of the said city and liberties adjoining, whereby considerable gain 
doth arise to themselves, the best of meat is ingrossed into few hands, 
the price of victuals greatly enhanced, and the true intent of the said 
former Act is eluded. It was therefore enacted that no butcher in 
Dublin or within 5 miles should sell a carcass or any kind of beef, dec., 
to a butcher in the market, nor expose the same for sale not having 
bought and had the oxen, Ac., in their possession alive. Penalty 
(inter alia), public whipping three market days through the district 
where such offence 1 ad Deen committed. 

By the 22 George III, cap. 49 — " An Act for making a fish market for 
the sale of Fisli in the city of Westminster, and For preventing the 
forestalling and monopolising of Fish, and for allowing the sale of 
Fish under the dimensions mentioned in a clause contained in an Act 
of the first year of his late Majesty's reign, in case the same are taken 
with a hook " — it is recited : " Whereas a free and open market for 
fish in the city of Westminster would greatly tend to increase the 
number of fishermen, and improve and encourage the fishery of this 
kingdom ;" and the right to establish such a market is enacted in a 
measure of twenty-one clauses. Those relating to forestalling are as 
follows (section 9) : " All contracts between fishermen and fish- 
mongers made before 29th September, 1749, are declared void, 
except (section 11) as to fresh salmon, soles, oysters, and salt and 
dried fish," which were to subsist. 

" XII. And lest fishermen and other persons employed in catching, 
importing, or vending of fish, should bring fish to Queenborough, 
Gravesend, or some other place or places in the river Thames, and 
there keep it for a considerable time, and send only small quantities 
from time to time to market, with a view to keep up the price of the 
several species of fish, which such person or persons respectively 
import or trail e in, which practice will not only tend to enhance the 
value [? price] of fifth, but also to render it unwholesome food to the 
consumer, as well as the fishery in general.' 1 

Wherefore a penalty was enacted against fishermen not selling their 
fish within eignt days after their arrival on the coast between 
Yarmouth and Dover. 

By 39 George II, cap. 39, the Act of 1749 is explained, amended, and 
made more effectual, and it is herein recited . . . "And whereas many 
difficulties have arose (sic) in putting the said Act in execution." 

There was an enactment of the Irish parliament, 31 George II, cap. 8 — 
" An Act to prohibit salesmen from being graziers, and to redress 
several abuses in buying and selling cattle or meat," which *as in 
fact a re-enactment in another form of the Act of 1703, after an 
admission in the recital that the last-named Act had " not answered 
the good end for which it was intended," it is then further enacted 
that no butcher in Dublin or other person for his use, should buy or 
contract for calveH or lambs in the county or roads to Dublin ; calves 
and lambs to be retailed in moat markets should be sold openly at 
times appointed. 

The English House of Commons after an inquiry into the distress 

Erevailing among the poor, recommended the enforcement of the 
iws against forestallers and regrators. 
There was enacted the 2 George III, cap. 16 — " An Act for the better 
supply of the cities oi London u& Westminster 11S&. fan, and to 

the World : Past and Present, 


Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 


1761 .... 

04 •>•» 

reduce the present exorbitant price thereof, and to protect and 
encourage fishermen." The scheme of this Act was to allow any 
person, though not a fishmonger, to buy at any market, sea coast or 
river, &c, any fish in season and sizeable, paying the accustomed dues 
at the place of purchase, and to sell the same again in any fish or 
flesh market, paying the accustomed dues, Covent Q-arden Market, 
and the precincts thereof excepted. But such fish were not to be 
resold by the first purchaser before the same were brought to London 
or Westminster, or to where consigned, under a penalty of 20I. 
Special waggons, designed " fish machines." were to be employed in 
the carriage of such fish, without being liable to the duty on common 
stage waggons. They were to pay only the same tolls as post chaises, 
and might run with narrow wheels ; they might travel on Sundays 
and holidays. If the driver should suffer any passenger, game, or 
other thing than fish to be carried he should be fined 40*. Bulk not 
to be broken before exposed for sale in the market, or 10Z. penalty. 
It was to be exposed for sale the next morning after arrival in London 
(except Sundays), and the selling any part by retail before it reached 
the market incurred a fine of 10/. Mackerel brought up by such 
carriages might be sold on Sundays. 

All contracts made for fish, except salmon or lobsters, were to be 
vacated after 1st May, 1762, and parties discharged from the penalties 
to their contracts, and parties contracting to buy up fish after that 
date (except salmon and lobsters) before the same should be exposed 
in the market, to be liable for penalty of 50Z., and contract declared 
void. After 1st May, 1762, no contract for salmon and lobster to 
extend beyond one year, and after same date no person might be 
engaged to buy fish in the markets of London or Westminster, to 
divide among fishmongers, and no person to buy fish but for his own 
sale or use, under penalty of 20I. No person to refuse to sell to 
particular persons, under penalty of zol. And all fish of respective 
sorts specified in the Act brought into the London markets for sale, 
should be openly sold at first hand, and in no greater quantity in a 
lot than is prescribed ; and every lot to consist of one kind of fish 
only. No fish to be sold or exposed for sale again in the market 
wherein it was bought during the same day, under penalty of 10Z. 
An account of the quantities and sorts or each fish brought to 
market to be posted in legible characters on the fish stand, 
" flounders, plaice, and dabbs excepted ;" penalty for defacing such 
account before sale concluded, 40*. No fisherman to destroy any fish 
(not being unwholesome) after market over j penalty not exceeding 
two months' hard labour. Fishermen engaged in this business to be 
exempted from impressment into the king's service. Any parties 
concerned in contracts contrary to this Act giving first information 
and convicting others, to be himself indemnified, and entitled to 
moiety of penalty. 

This specimen of tree trade legislation in fish contains in the whole 
thirty-seven sections, and is one of the most penal measures in the 
statute book. I well remember these fish machines running daily 
from Yarmouth to London up to the date of the opening of the 
Great Eastern Railway. 
A parliamentary committee was this year appointed to inquire into 
the high price of provisions. In its report the committee quote the 
evidence of several prominent salesmen and butchers that the high 
prices were not exclusively the effect of " natural causes j" and then 
occurs the following passage : — 

" In support of this opinion, they informed the committee of a 
method now practised of buying large quantities of sheep and oxen 
upon the road to market, in order to forestall the market of that day, 
and fix the price by the will of a few engrossers *, of mk&V&y «^*cts& 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 


1764 .... 

'72 .... 


87 •••• 

1800 .... 


of forestallers, who buy great numbers of sheep and oxen, and, after 
slaughter, sell the carcases whole to the lesser butchers, and thereby 
set the market price to them, and advance the retail price ; and all 
the witnesses concurred in declaring that if these combinations and 
arts for gaining and keeping the command of the markets in a few 
hands could be obviated and prevented, the summer and winter price 
of meat of all sorts would be more reasonable. 

" They were clearly of opinion that at this very time there is no 
want of fat cattle, and they urged with great force, in support of 
that judgment, that through the whole month of March, when 
provisions have been so very dear at London, beef, mutton, and veal, 
have been at a moderate and usual price in the markets of the 
several counties within 30 miles around the metropolis." 

Upon the whole matter the committee came to the following 
conclusion : — 

"Resolved, that in the opinion of this committee the high 
price of provisions of late, has been occasioned partly by circum- 
stances peculiar to the season, and the year, and partly by defect of 
the laws in force for convicting and punishing all persons concerned 
in forestalling cattle in their passage to market." 
A change came over the scene. There was enacted the 12 George HI, 
cap. 71 — "An Act for repealing several laws therein mentioned against 
badgers, engrossers, forestallers, and regrators, and for indemnifying 
persons against prosecutions for offences committed against the said 
Acts " — which contains this very candid recital : 

" Whereas it hath been found by experience that the restraints 
laid by several statutes upon the dealing in corn, wheat, flour, cattle 
and sundry other sorts of victuals, by preventing a free trade in the 
said commodities, have a tendency to discourage the growth, and to 
enhance the price of the same ; which statutes, if put in execution, 
would bring a great distress upon the inhabitants of many parts of 
London and Westminster." 

It was therefore enacted that the above recited Acts of 1549, 
1555, 1579, 1663, and 1706, as also " all Acts made for the better 
enforcement of the same, being detrimental to the supply of the 
labouring and manufacturing poor of this kingdom, shall be, and 
the same are hereby declared to be repealed" 

And all informations, &c, commenced under the said Acts were to 
cease and determine. 
By an enactment of the parliament of Ireland, 13 and 14 George III, 
cap. 22 — " An Act for paving streets within the city and county of 
the city of Dublin " — section 73 authorises a market jury to seize 
provisions or victuals in the hands of any forestaller, regrator, or 
By an enactment of the parliament of Ireland, 27 George III cap. 46 
— "An Act for establishing market juries in cities " — section 3 autho- 
rises and empowers certain market juries to seize piv. visions and victuals 
found in the hands of forestallers, regrators, and engrossers. 
A corn dealer named Rusby was this year found guilty of having pur- 
chased by sample in the corn market in Mark Lane, 90 quarters of 
wheat at 415. per quarter, and having sold 50 of them in the same 
market, the same day, for 44*., Lord Chief Justice Kenyon in 
sentencing him, said to the jury, "You have conferred, by your 
verdict, almost the greatest benefit of your country that was ever 
conferred by any jury." It would have been difficult after this to 
obtain a conviction against any of the persons who had gutted this 
ill-used man's residence in Blackfriars Road. No punishment was 
inflicted, as some of the judges doubted whether regrating were really 
punishable at common law. See Table XV, this date. 

Again, on 13th July) two Wtatara were tried at Hicks's Hall on an 

the World : Past and Present, 








Table XII. — Speculation in Grain and Other Articles — Contd. 

indictment for forestalling, by buying cattle on the road to Smith field 
Market, when it was stated that the practice was a common one. 
Being found guilty, defendants were ordered to pay 20I. each, or be 
imprisoned for three months. This was considered a light punish- 
ment, and would have been more severe had not the defendants been 
" the first examples since these sort of prosecutions fell into disuse." 

There was published, A Short Inquiry into the Nature of Monopoly 
and Forestalling. By Edward Morris, Esq. Third Edition, with 
additions. . London, 8vo. 

Also, An Address to the Q-ood Sense and Candour of the People in 
behalf of the Dealers in Corn, with observations on a late Trial for 
Regrating. By Sir Thomas Turton, Bart. London, 8vo. 

Observations on the pernicious consequences of Forestalling, Regrating, 
and In grossing ; with a List of the Statutes, &c., which have been 
adopted for the Punishment of those Offences, audProposals for New 
Laws to Abolish the System of Monopoly ; Remarks on the Impolicy 
of the Consolidation of Small Farms, &c. By J. S. Girdler, Esq., 
London. 8vo. 6s. 

There was enacted 7 and 8 Victoria, cap. 34 — "An Act for abolishing 
the offences of forestalling, regrating and engrossing, and for repeal- 
ing certain statutes passed in restraint of trade " — which recited : 

"Whereas divers statutes have been from time to time made in 
the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain and Ireland 
respectively, prohibiting certain dealings in wares, victuals, merchan- 
dise, and various commodities of the names of badgering, forestalling, 
regrating and engrossing, and subjecting to divers punishments, 
penalties and forfeitures, persons so dealing ; and whereas it is ex- 
pedient that such statutes, as well as certain other statutes made in 
hindrance and in restraint of trade, be repealed .... and whereas, 
notwithstanding the making of the first recited Act [12 George, cap. 
71 (1772)], persons are still liable to be prosecuted for badgering, 
engrossing, forestalling, and regrating, as being offences at common 
law, and also forbidden by divers statutes made before the earliest of 
the statutes thereby repealed." 

It was therefore enacted that after the passing of this Act the several 
offences named " be utterly taken away and abolished, and that no 
information, indictment, bail, or prosecution shall be either at 
common law, or by virtue of any statute, or be commenced or 
prosecuted against any person for or by reason of any of the said 
offences or supposed offences." This Act extended specifically to 
Scotland and Ireland. 

Note. — " Besides attempting to lower prices by prohibiting exportation, our 
ancestors attempted to lower them by proscribing the trade carried on by corn 
dealers. This most useful class of persons were looked upon with suspicion by 
every one. The agriculturists concluded that they would be able to sell their 
produce at higher prices to the consumers were the corn dealers out of the way ; 
while the consumers concluded that the profits of the dealers were made at their 
expense ; and ascribed the dearths that were then very prevalent entirely to the 
practices of the dealers, or their buying up corn and withholding it from 
market." — McCulloch, Literature of Political Economy, 



Walfoed — On the Famines of 

XII. — Misapplication of Grain. 

It was but natural that when grain products were scarce, and 
the people starving, that attention should be drawn to any process 
or processes whereby the supply, or any material proportion of it 
was being absorbed. Hence the measures indicated in the following 
table fall into the natural order of things, and demand no special 

It would be interesting to note the proportion of the grain 
produce which at different periods of our history have been applied 
to these purposes ; but the statistics upon the point are limited. 

In 1765, Mr. Charles Smith, author of "Tracts on the Corn 
" Trade," made many curious investigations, with a view to discover 
the mean annual consumption of corn ; and reducing it to the 
standard of wheat, he found it to be at the rate of about a quarter 
for each individual, young and old. He took the population of 
England and Wales for this year to be 6,000,000, and reckoned 
the consumers of each kind of grain, the quantity consumed by 
each individual, and hence the whole consumed by man, as 
follows : — 



Consumers of 

Wheat at 
Barley „ 





per Head. 

1 qr. each 

If „ 
H „ 
2* „ 

Consumed by man 

In addition to this Mr. Smith exhibited the Wheat distilled, \ 

made into Starch, Ac J 

Barley used in Malting, &c 

Rye for Hogs, &c 

Oats for Horses, &c 

Total of home consumption 

Add excess of exports over imports 

Add seed (one-tenth) 

Total growth or all kinds of grain in England and Wales 1 
in 1766 J 

Consumed by Man. 

3,750,000 qrs. 
1,016,125 „ 
999,000 „ 

7,$5 6 ,35<> 
90,000 qrs. 

2,461,500 n 

1 3,555»85o 
398,9 2 4 



This estimate did not include either Scotland or Ireland, and 
later inquiries have rendered it probable that the population was 
under-estimated by nearly one million. It seems also that at that 
date the proportion for seed ought to have been one-sixth, certainly 
not less than one-sevenths 

the World: Past and Present, 


Regarding the estimated consumption per head, this estimate 
has been confirmed by a variety of subsequent researches in 
various parts of England and in France. In this latter country 
the consumption was found to be about ten bushels per head ; but 
the French consume more bread and less animal food than the 

In 1814 Dr. Colquhoun made the following estimate of the 
consumption of grain in the United Kingdom, i.e., England, 
Scotland and Ireland : — 

Species of 

by Man. 

by Animals. 


in Beer and 



in Various 









« 00,000 







• • • • 


• • •• 

• • » a 

• ••• 



• • • • 

• • • • 


• • • • 


6,335> 00 ° 
1 6,950,000 






~v w 

Beans and Peas 


1 &>750i00o 





I am not aware of any complete estimate of this character of 
later date ; but the amount of barley made into malt had increased 
from 4,525,681 quarters in 1825 to 7)876,959 quarters in 1875. 

Under this head falls to be named those wanton acts of waste, 
such as burning grain-stores, firing ricks, and other acts of wilful 
destruction of grain which have too often occurred during periods of 
scarcity, and the only effect of which must be to add to the 
calamities of the moment. The incendiary fires which took place 
in Kent and in Suffolk in 1830, and in Cambridgeshire in 1853-54, 
are happily about the latest instances of such folly. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Tablb XIII. — Misapplication of Grain by its Excessive Use in Brewing, 

Distilling, or by Misadventure. 









The art of distillation of spirits from grain became known in England 
about this date (reign of Henry III) ; it haying been introduced 
into Europe by the Moors about a century previously. 

The failure of the English wine crop in 1298 led to a considerable 
increase in the brewing of ale, which became the subject of complaint, 
as affecting the price of grain. 

"The Londoners the same yeare, considering the wheat was much 
consumed by the converting thereof into mault, ordained that from 
thenceforth it should be made of other graine; and also that a 
gallon of the better ale should be sold for 3 halfe pence, and of 
small ale for one penny, not above." This order was afterwards 
extended by the king through the whole kingdom. — Penkethman. 

By 24 Henry VIII, cap. 10 — " An Acte made and ordeyned to destroye 
choughes, crowes, and rookes "—it is recited : — 

" Forasmuch as innumerable number of rooks, crows, and choughs, 
do daily breed and increase throughout this realm, which rooks, crows, 
and choughs do daily destroy, devour, and consume a wonderful and 
marvellous great quantity of corn and grain of all kinds, that is to 
wit, as well in the sowing of the same corn and grain, as also of 
the ripening and kernelling of the same, and over that a marvellous 
destruction and decay of the covertories of thatched houses, barns, 
reeks, stacks, and other such like. (2) So that if the said crows, 
rooks, and choughs should be suffered to breed and continue, as they 
have been in certain years past, they will undoubtedly be the cause 
of the great destruction and consumption of a great part of the corn 
and grain which hereafter shall be sown throughout this realm, to the 
great prejudice, danger, and undoing of a great number of all the 
tillers, husbands, and sowers of the earth within the same." 

It was therefore enacted that all persons in the possession of lands 
should do their best to destroy crows, &c. Every town, hamlet, &c., 
was to provide and maintain crow nets during ten years, during which 
period farmers, &c, to meet and take orders for destroying young 
crows, &c. The takers of old crows, &c., were to be rewarded at 2d, 
per dozen. 

In a letter from the lords of the council, dated " from Whitehall, the 
xiii of June, 1630," and addressed to " the maior and burgesses of 
the cittie of Wells," in view of an expected famine, there is the 
following passage : — 

" That the lawes provided as well againste the breweinge or spend - 
inge of strong ale or beere in inns or alehowses be strictly put in 
execution, as likewise against ingrossers, forstallers of corne, and for 
the regulatinge of the market for the prices of grayne ; and that you 
cause the grayneries of those to be visited or noted for ingrossers, to 
see that they may supply marketts accordinge to the lawes — and 
generally that you will vse all other fitt courses and remedies, either 
provided by lawe, or w'ch you by y'or experience knowe best, or can 
hnde out for the preservacon and well-husbandinge of the grayne 
within y'or jurisdicon." 

At this period it seems that the usual bread-corn of the poor was 
barley. The king (Charles I) availed himself of this circumstance, in 
order to establish a new monopoly, by subjecting the brewers and 
maltsters to a royal license. His reasons for this measure were declared 
to be, for the relief of the poorer sort of his people whose usual bread 
was barley ,- and for the restraining of innkeepers and victuallers, who 
made their ale and beer too strong and heady. Rym. F®d., xix, 102 ; 
xx, 157. 

By 9 Anne, cap. 14 — " An Act for encouraging the consumption of 
malted corn, and f ot ins better -^montin^ the running of French and 

foreign brandy" — it "was Tec\te& •. — 

the World : Past and Present. 




'09 .... 
'57 .... 

58 .... 


Table XIII. — Misapplication of Grain — Contd. 


" Whereas the making of English brandy and strong waters from 
malted corn, hath been encouraged by several Acts of parliament, 
whereby great quantities of the worst sort of malted corn, not useful 
to the brewers, hath been yearly consumed by those who set up 
works for that purpose: and whereas the consumption of English 
brandy and strong waters, hath of late years been greatly hindered, 
as well by the running of French and other foreign brandies, as also by 
a clause in an Act made in the twelfth and thirteenth years of his late 
majesty . . . whereby all distillers and tradesmen who sell brandy 
and strong waters by retail, are compelled to take out licenses, as 
common alehouse keepers." 

It was therefore enacted that all French brandy landed before the 
duty was paid should be forfeited. 

See (8 Anne, cap. 2) Table X, this date. 

There was enacted, 30 George II, cap. 10 — " An Act to prohibit for a 
limited time the making of low wines and spirits from wheat, barley, 
malt, or any other sort of grain, or from any meal or flour " — and 
such distillation was accordingly prohibited for two months. 

Same session there was enacted 30 George II, cap. 15 — An Act 
for continuing an Act of the present session of parliament entituled, 
&c. [the preceding Act], and the Act was extended to 11th December 
this year, with a proviso empowering his majesty by proclamation, or 
order of council, to suspend the Act and permit distillation from 
wheat, &c. 

There was enacted 32 George II, cap. 2 — " An Act to continue 

and also to continue for a farther time the prohibition of the making 
of low wines and spirits from wheat, barley, malt, or any other sorts 
of grain, or from meal or flour ; and to prohibit for a limited time the 
making of low wines and spirits from bran." The Act of 1757 to 
remain in force until 24th December, 1759. 

There were enacted two measures of restriction this year : — 

1. The 33 George II, cap. 4, " An Act to continue for a further 
time the prohibition of the making of low wines and spirits from 
wheat, barley, malt, or any other sort of grain, or from meal, flour or 
bran." The Act of 1757 was continued to 24th December, 1760, unless 
the continuation thereof be shortened by any other Act of this 

2. The 33 George II, cap. 9, " An Act for preventing the excessive 
use of spirituous liquors, by laying additional duties thereon, for 
shortening the prohibition of making low wines and spirits from 
wheat , barley, malt and other grain, and from meal, flour and bran ; 
and for encouraging the exportation of British made spirits ; and for 
more effectually securing the duties payable upon spirits, and prevent- 
ing the fraudulent relanding and importation thereof ;" from the 
preamble of which it appears that an unexpected good had resulted 
from the famine necessities of the original measure, thus : — 

" Whereas the high price of spirituous liquors hath been a principal 
cause of the diminution of the home consumption thereof, and hath 
thereby greatly contributed to the health, sobriety and industry of the 
common people : and whereas it is therefore of the utmost importance 
to the public welfare, that some timely provision should be made for 
preventing the return of all those mischiefs which must unavoidably 
ensue, -in -case such spirituous liquors should again be suffered to 
be sold at as low a rate as formerly ; and forasmuch as the most 
effectual and expedient method of continuing the high price of 
spirituous liquors, will be by laying a large additional duty on such 
spirituous liquors," &c. 

This is as neat an excuse for raising the revenue as is often to be 
found. Additional duties were laid as from 21st April, 1760. The 
prohibition against extracting Bpirite trom Vks gran TMSB&assQ»&.^* 


Walfobd — On the Famines of 

Table XIII. — Misapplication of Grain — Contd. 


1759 .... withdrawn from same dale, unless during the recess of parliament the 

price of wheat should exceed for two successive market days 48*. per 

quarter in the port of London, in which case the king might by 

proclamation continue the prohibition. 
'68 .... By 8 George III, cap. 1, " An Act to amend an Act made in the last 

session of parliament, to prohibit for a limited time the exportation 

of corn ; and also the extraction of low wines and spirits 

from wheat and wheat flour." 
'69 .... By 9 George III, cap. 1, "An Act to prohibit for a further time the 

exportation of corn ; and also the extraction of low wines and 

spirits from wheat and wheat flour." 
'70 .... By 10 George III, cap. 1, The prohibition was extended to twenty 

days after the commencement of the next session. 
'71 .... By 11 George III, cap. 1, The like prohibition again extended to 

twenty days after commencement of the next session. 
'73 .... By 13 George III, cap. 3, The like prohibition again extended to 

1st January, 1774. 
'95 .... There was enacted, 35 George III, cap. 11 — " An Act for granting to 

his Majesty additional duties of excise on worts, wash, and other 

liquors, made in England, for extracting spirits for home consumption ; 

and for preventing distillers from making use of wheat or wheat flour 

in making wash for extracting spirits" 
'96 .... By the 36 George III, cap. 7, it was permitted that certain wheat, 

wheat flour, and meal, which had been imported under the provisions 

of 31 George III, cap. 3, " and which had not been found fit for 

making bread " might be used (inter alia) in the distillation of low 

wines and spirits. 
1800 .... There was enacted — 

1. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 7 — " An Act to prohibit, until the 
1st day of March, 1800, the making of low wines or spirits from 
wheat, barley, malt, or other sort of grain, or from any meal, flour, 
or any bran, in that part of Great Britain called Scotland." 

2. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 8, " An Act for reducing until 
the 1st day of June, 1800, the duties upon spirits distilled from 
molasses and sugar, or any mixture therewith ; for prohibiting the 
distillation of spirits from wheat flour ; and for reducing until the 
20th day of September, 1800, and better collecting the duties payable 
on the importation of starch." 

3. The 32 and 40 George III, cap. 25, " An Act to prohibit, until 
the 1st day of October, 1800, the use of wheat in making starch." 

This extension of prohibition to starch was a new feature. 

4. The 39 and 40 George III, cap. 62, " An Act to allow for nine 
months after the passing this Act, the use of sugar in the brewing of 

In the autumn session of the same year there were enacted other 
measures, viz. : — 

1. The 41 George III, cap. 3, " An Act to prohibit until the 1st 
day of January, 1802, the use of corn in distilling of spirits and 
making of starch." 

2. The 41 George III, cap. 6, " An Act for continuing until the 
expiration of forty days after the commencement of the first session of 
parliament that shall be begun and holden after the 1st day of 
September, 1801, several laws relating ..... to the allowing 
the use of sugar in the brewing of beer ..... and to the 
prohibiting the making of low wines or spirits from wheat and certain 
other articles, in that part of Great Britain called Scotland." 

3. The 41 George III, cap. 6 — " An Act for shortening, until the 
25th day of March, 1801, the time of keeping in steep for malting 

/ barley damaged by rain in the last harvest. 
01 ..../ There was enacted 42 George III, ca^.^^'Xiv K<& to continue until the 

the World : Past and Present. 


1801 .... 

'02 .... 

'08 .... 

Table XII I. — Misapplication of Grain — Contd. 

1st day of January, 1802, so much of an Act made in the thirty-ninth 
and fortieth years of the reign of his present majesty as relates to the 
reducing the duties upon worts or wash brewed or made from 
molasses or sugar, or any mixture therewith, or to any distiller or 
distillers, or maker or makers of spirits ; for reviving and continuing 
for the same period so much of the said Act as relates to the reducing 
and better collecting the duties payable on the importation of starch, 
and for continuing for the same period an Act made in the same 
session of parliament for prohibiting the making of low wines or 
spirits from wheat, barley, malt, or other sort of grain, or from any 
meal, flour, or grain in Scotland ; and so much of an Act made in the 
last session of parliament as relates to allowing the distillation of 
spirits in Scotland from molasses or sugar at a lower rate of duty." 

And same session there was enacted the 41 George III, cap. 16 
(United Kingdom), "An Act to prohibit, until the 25th day of 
March, 1802, the making of malt and the distilling of spirits from 
corn or grain in Ireland" 
There was enacted — 

1. The 42 Gteorge III, cap. 5, "An Act to continue until the 1st day 
of January, 1802, so much of an Act made in the thirty-ninth and 
fortieth years of the reign of his present majesty, as relates to 
the reducing the duties upon worts or wash brewed or made from 
molasses or sugar, or any mixture therewith, or to any distiller or 
distillers, or maker or makers of spirits j for revising and continuing 
for the same period so much of the said Act as relates to the reducing 
and better collecting the duties payable on the importation of starch ; 
and for continuing for the same period an Act made in the same 
session of parliament for prohibiting the making of low wines or 
spirits from wheat, barley, malt, or other sort of grain, or from any 
meal, flour or bran in Scotland ; and so much of an Act made in the 

•last session of parliament as relates to the allowing the distillation of 
spirits in Scotland from molasses or sugar at a lower rate of duty." 
The title tells its own tale without reference to the Act itself. 

2. The 42 George III, cap. 14, " An Act to permit until the 1st 
day of July, 1802, the making of starch from rice or potatoes, or any 
mixture thereof, and the importation of any such starch from Ireland 
free of duty." 

An Inquiry into the Policy and Justice of the Prohibition of the use 
of Grain in the Distilleries. By Archibald Bell, Esq. Edinburgh. 
8vo. "An able pamphlet, strongly opposed to prohibition."— 

General Remarks upon the preceding Tables. 

In the preceding Tables (VIII to XIII inclusive), and the 
observations accompanying them, is presented an outline of the 
causes, distinguished in this paper as the " Artificial Causes," of 
famines. And as to several of these, this enigma presents itself, 
that the very remedies which have been adopted to prevent, 
or to mitigate the severity of, these periodical visitations, have by 
some reflex action, apparently, either aided in producing them, or 
at least added very much to the severity of the results flowing from 
them. Famine is the result of a scarcity of the food necessary for 
the sustenance of a community. It is clear that the actual occasion 
of such scarcity may be either of several Beta oi ^\xwj^£^\smsvr«^ 

246 Walfobd — On the Famines of 

acting singly or combined. 1. It may be from a failure of crops, 
from war, pestilence, neglect, or from the density of population 
being so great that the area at disposal for cultivation is insufficient 
for the requirements of the numbers depending on it. 2. It may 
result from the circumstances that while there is food sufficient in 
the country, it is still too far removed from the location of those 
requiring it, and there may be no efficient means of transport to 
bring the food to the people.* 3. It may result from a want of 
means to purchase food, which with such means could be obtained in 
abundance. But it was not the plan of this paper to deal with 
theoretical causes, or even to group the causes under any very 
scientific arrangement. The inquiry took for its basis actual facts. 
There had been many hundreds of famines in our own country and 
in others. These had been recorded as to time, location, and 
reported cause. I sought out those records, reduced them to 
chronological order, and made a summary of their reported causes, 
twelve in number. The five " Natural Causes/' i.e., causes beyond 
humau control, have been examined in Part I. The so-called 
artificial causes were left for like treatment on this occasion ; and 
these I have had to deal with here in the order in which they were 
presented by the original investigation. 

It became apparent in the first portion of the paper that the 
investigation was of a very complex character ; that the elements 
which went to make up the aggregate of the repnted causes of 
famine were diverse in the extreme. But this was no argument 
against the proposed investigation ; it was in truth very much the 
other way. Problems with obvious, or very simple, conclusions, 
stand much less in need of elucidation than those wherein the con- 
siderations are multifold. If I had foreseen the labour involved 
in the task I had set myself, that would have been a very good 
reason for leaving it in the hands of some person having fewer 
demands upon his time than myself. But having once entered 
* upon it, there has been no course open to me but to pursue it, 
and to endeavour to do this thoroughly. 1 might have shirked 
certain stages of the inquiry on the simple ground of the labour 
involved ; but the mere question of labour, where historical truths, 
or statistical results, are in view, is not to be allowed to have 
weight; I have therefore followed it through to the end, leaving 
no stone unturned to make the inquiry reasonably complete. 

To determine the mode of treatment best adapted to the 
inquiry has caused me no small degree of anxiety. To make each 

* On various occasions when the Thames has been frozen over for several weeks, 
the price of provisions in the metropolis has been greatly enhanced: although 
there whs no scarcity whatever in the country. It was solely a question of 
transit. See Table IX (1767). 

the World : Past and Present 247 

branch of investigation reasonably complete in itself, and yet in 
harmony of treatment with the whole, has been the object in view. 
That the method I have pursued is the best that could have been 
devised I am very far from contending ; it is simply, on the whole, 
the best which has presented itself to my mind.* 

I here desire to refer to an objection which has been made to 
the first part of the paper, and to which perhaps the present 
portion is equally or even more open. It is said the facts pre- 
sented are facts in history, and are not statistical in the sense 
ordinarily understood. I admit there is some force in the objec- 
tion ; but I reply, these are the hoses of statistical inquiry ; historical 
facts reduced to the form and order of statistical tables. No surmises 
or generalisations, which may mean something or nothing, as they 
are rendered or understood ; here you have the very words of the 
record, the time and place and mode of recording. The many 
hundreds of Acts of parliament embodied in the tables here given 
have been carefully read and condensed from the " Statutes of the 
Realm " and the " Statutes at large," and in order to make the 
understanding of their legislative clauses more clear, I have, 
wherever it appeared desirable, quoted the very reasons assigned by 
the legislature for the particular enactment. Let me further say, 
while on my defence, that not one Act of parliament, nor one book, 
tract, or record of any kind, has been quoted which does not in my 
judgment bear directly upon the question of famines, or which 
has not been designed to do so. 

Acts of parliament are not light reading ; and the language 
employed in them is not always redundant either with grace or 
clearness. The rules of grammar are not to be flaunted in the face 
of the assembled legislature. The title of an Act is frequently the 
only part of it which commends itself to the ordinary understand- 
ing ; but even the titles do not always convey a very conclusive 
indication of the contents. In a word, the study of the results of 
legislative deliberation does not inspire one with the highest ideal 
of legislative wisdom ! 

I have said that the anomaly presents itself in respect of 
several of the tables here given, that while the measures they 
recount were intended to avert the occurrence of famines, there is 
reason to believe that they have frequently had the very opposite 
effect. This is particularly the case as to the legislative enactments 
in Tables IX, X, XI, and XII. Instances of more perverted 

* For my own information I have made a chronological table of all the events 
and incidents contained in the entire fifteen tables embraced in this paper and 
the former one. It perhaps shows the logical sequence of events more fully than 
they are here shown ; but I doubt if that form would have been so suitable to the 
pages of our Journal, or the information conveyed so useful to general readera > 
outside the subject of Famines. 

248 "Walfokd — On the Famines of 

ingenuity than are to be met with in these legislative efforts it is 
not possible to conceive. An ukase to compel water to run up hill 
would have been as reasonable, and in many cases, not, in effect, 
very dissimilar ; while the tradition of the Pope's bull against the 
new moon has at least the advantage of humour in the comparison ! 
And here I pass from my legislative review. 

Supplemental Observations. 

It has become clear in the progress of this inquiry that the 
twelve causes of famines indicated in the original table in Part I, 
do not cover the entire considerations which belong to the history 
of famines. Accordingly I propose to add a few remarks upon 
points of direct interest, viz., 1. The prevention of famines in the 
future ; 2. On the mortality occasioned by famines ; 3. A table 
(No. XIV) of the price of wheat in England from the year 
a.d. 1000 down to the present time; 4. And finally a table 
(No. XV) of the literature of famines. 

The Prevention of Famines in the Future. 

It was no part of my original design to discuss the prevention 
of famines, but it was intimated on the former occasion that I 
should be expected to say something hereon. When we speak of 
the prevention of famines in the future, that expression must 
necessarily be understood in the sense, not of changing the course 
of the seasons, but the rather of understanding their course, and of 
being prepared for the emergencies such teaching may indicate ; or 
at all events for those contingencies which a knowledge of the past 
must lead us to expect in the future. It is indeed to be hoped that 
continued improvements in agriculture and the extension of irriga- 
tion, will avert the frequency of the occurrence of famine : but on 
these we must not place too much reliance : they are at the best 
only aids, and slow of development. 

That famines will occur in times to come is but too certain. 
The practical point we have to consider under this division of our 
subject is what can best be done to avert or mitigate their con- 
sequences ? 

If any one fact be made more clear than another from a study 
of the data contained in the tables in this paper, it is that famines 
cannot be averted by legislative action ! Neither can this effectively 
restrain the operation of prices, which alone are and must always 
be regulated by supply and demand. And yet, because legislation 
. fras so signally failed in the directions in which it has been in the 
gftflt most persistent, is that to be taken as an argument against all 
£ve measures in the future? Certainly not. One of the 
wwit prominent in my mind during the whole course of invest iga- 

the World : Past and Present. 249 

t ion for the purposes of the present paper, is that towards the legisla- 
tion which will certainly follow the present inquiry, by commission, into 
the famines of India, and in which one of the most distinguished 
Fellows of this Society (Mr. James Caird, C.B.) is engaged-— the 
facts here brought together will assuredly contribute. These facts go 
to show that the causes of famines are manifold : too much rain as 
frequently as too little ; storms, and pests of insects and vermin. 
They go also to show what legislation cannot do, and therefore they 
simplify the problem of what it can do. This latter then is the 
point which we now have to consider.* 

The function of legislation, as we now understand it, is to supply 
the people governed with the facilities for protecting themselves, and 
only to step in and attempt actual protection, pending the realisa- 
tion of this process. In India, people require the means of inland 
communication, and they require a currency adapted to the circum- 
stances of their daily life. On the latter point I am not fully 
competent to speak. As to the former, I have already spoken in 
the first portion of this paper. It is a question between canals and 
railways — canals for cheapness of transit and for combining irriga- 
tion facilities, where practicable ; railways for communication with 
distant provinces, for passenger transit, and for transit of perishable 
commodities. Canals and irrigation, unless based upon well-con- 
sidered plans, are liable to break down when most needed, namely, 
in seasons of great drought.f 

During the famine which terminated last year, the govern- 
ment tried an experiment which probably will never be repeated. 
It caused 30,000 tons of rice to be purchased ; fearing, I suppose, 
that the ordinary laws of prompt supply where urgent demand 
arises would not there be equal to the emergency. In that 
view (if it were the official view) it was soon discovered they were 
mistaken. In future the course seems plain — give timely warning 
of approaching scarcity; leave the rest to mercantile enterprise. 
Of course, as to the conveyance of grain inland, help must be 

* In India there have been many governmental restrictions regarding food 
supplies, and the mode of dealing in these ; but regarding their details I am not 
sufficiently informed. 

f Knye remarks in his " History of Indian Progress," that the preciousness of 
water crops up incidentally in the oldest Hindoo writings extant. In the laws of 
Manu, at once the Noah and Solon of Indian myth, the breaker of a dam is 
sentenced to long immersion under water. Tiinur, too, whose invasion in 1398, 
together with the subsequent reign of four officers, the Sayids, as his viceroys, 
forms a marked feature in Indian history, ordained, whoever undertook the 
cultivation of waste lands, or built an aqueduct, or made a canal, or planted a 
grove, or restored to culture a deserted district, that in the first year nothing (in 
the way of taxes) should be taken from him, and that in the second year whatever 
the subject voluntarily offered should be received, and that in the third year the 
duties should be collected according to the regulation. 

250 Walford — On the Famines of , 

given, pending completion of the modes of transport; and upon 
this question of transport I do not propose to invoke any discussion 
on tbis occasion, knowing that the question is under imperial 

In all I have said regarding India, I beg to disclaim any idea of 
imputing censure on the Government. A succession of great 
calamities in the way of famines have fallen upon that empire : 
tbe Government and its officials have struggled nobly with the 
difficulties presented; and but for these efforts tbe suffering, as 
also the mortality, would probably have been ten-fold. My point 
is, that hereafter we are to devise measures of permanent security, 
rather than rely upon temporary expedients, however energetically 
these may be executed. I have already indicated that the only 
mode of permanent prevention lies, in my belief, in improved 
means of cultivation, if practicable, and of transport as a necessity. 

On the Mortality Occasioned by Famines, 

In my table of famines, I have stated (wherever such estimates 
were found to exist) the mortality resulting from the particular 
famine under notice. It is only in exceptional cases that such 
estimates are given ; and if they were given in every case, I fear 
they would mostly be panic estimates, and therefore not entitled to 
implicit credence. 

But beyond the directly known, or calculable loss, I suspect 
there is a vast mortality occasioned by periods of scarcity which 
can only be arrived at by approximation. I am not about to 
attempt any detailed inquiry into this branch of the subject, which 
indeed might be found sufficient for a paper full of interest in the 
hands of any industrious member of this Society seeking for a 
subject. I propose simply to put on record some facts which have 
come before me almost incidentally in the progress of this 

It has been remarked that nearly all the great epidemics of 
fever, more especially of typhus, have occurred during seasons of 
scarcity and want. They are in fact associated with famine. In 
some instances the famine has been general, owing to failures of 
the crops, and the epidemics have been widespread : while in others 
the scarcity has been the result of artificial causes, such as strikes, 
commercial failures, sieges, &c, and the epidemics have been 
circumscribed. But whatever may have been the cause of the 
scarcity, it has been a common observation in many epidemics that 
the fever has raged among the poor in a degree proportionate to 
the privations they have endured. It was especially observable 
during the Irish potato famine : those persons who had been 
reduced by insufficient food were invariably attacked. 

the World : Past and Present. 


1802.— The seasons of 1799 and 1800 were "bad," and the 
consequent dearth in 1801 and 1802 produced great distress. 
Parliamentary committees inquired into the means of supplying 
people with food. Before one of these committees the following 
return was made : — 


Average Price of the 


Quarter of Wheat, 

Windsor Prices. 

Cora Returns. 

Burials in England. 


8. d. 

54 - 
75 8 

127 - 

128 6 

69 3 

*. d. 

50 3 

67 6 
113 7 
118 3 

67 5 







f 02 

1804.— A writer in the " Edinburgh Review " (1829) instituted 
the following comparison : The year 1801 was a year of extreme 
scarcity. The number of births registered in England and Wales 
was 237,000, and the number of registered burials 204,000; 
whereas in 1804, which was a year of plenty, there were no fewer 
than 294,000 registered births, and only 181,000 registered burials; 
being an excess in the latter year of 57,000 births, and a diminution 
of burials, although out of a larger population. 

1841. — Mr. Thomas Doubleday published, " The True Law 
" of Population, shown to be connected with the Food of the 
" People." 

1841-42. — In a valuable paper read before the Philosophical 

Society of Glasgow this year by Dr. R. D. Thomson (and published 

in the transactions of the Society for the fourteenth session), after 

noticing the number of deaths in England by starvation, or purely 

from want of food, the author says, "how many persons die by 

piecemeal starvation, or by disease engendered by bad food, or want 

of it, has not yet been pointed out by statistical data." He also 
said : — 

" We trust the day is fast approaching when the light of science will enable 
the guardians of the poor to manage our poverty-stricken fellow men by precise 
and definite rules, and will teach all classes of the community that the quantity of 
vital air supplied by the Creator to man is based on fixed laws which require the 
imbibition of a certain amount of food. An adult consumes every day 30I ounces 
of oxygen or vital air from the atmosphere. To consume this and to convert it 
into carbonic acid, he requires, according to Liebig, about x 3 ounces of carbon in 
the form of food. If the food is withheld, the carbon must be supplied from the 
muscles and substance of the body ; the latter becomes thinner and weaker, and 
like an expiring taper is extinguished by the influence of the most trivial causes." 

1842. — The Report of a Committee of the British Association for 
the Advancement of Science : On the Vital Statistics of the Laro^e 

252 Walfoed — On the Famines of 

Towns of Scotland, published this year, contained the following 
passage : — 

" Though we may not be able to trace the effects of destitution in its different 
stages on the increase of disease and death, yet by the improvement of registers, 
and by greater attention to the vital statistics of different localities, and of 
different classes of the people, more certain knowledge may be obtained on this 
most important subject. The proof, however, which the preceding tables afford 
that the mortality for the different towns is in proportion to the amount of the 
poor and destitute in these towns, is supported by the amount of burials which 
take place in them at the public expense." 

1842. — In Professor Liebig's Report on Organic Chemistry 
applied to Physiology and Pathology — of which an abstract made 
by Dr. Lyon Playf air appeared in the report of the British Associa- 
tion for this year — there is the following : — 

" Food is either applied in the increase of the mass of a structure (i.e., in 
nutrition), or it is applied in the replacement of a structure wasted (i.e., in repro- 
duction). The primary condition for the existence of life is the reception and 
assimilation of food. But there is another condition equally important — the 
continual absorption of oxygen from the atmosphere. All vital activity results 
from the mutual action of the oxygen of the atmosphere and the elements of food. 
All changes in matter proceeding in the body are essentially chemical, although 
they are not unf requently increased or diminished in intensity by the vital 
force " 

1846. — The Registrar- General, in his ninth annual report, 
reviewing the scarcity of food at this period, occasioned very much 
by the failure of the potato crop in Ireland, pointed out why such 
disasters were not so fatal to the people as was formerly the case : — 

" The quantity of food which a country imports does not depend merely on its 
wants ; it depends on its ability to pay for food from abroad ; the ability itself 
varying with the people's powers of production and the prices of commodities in 
the foreign market. A purely agricultural ill-cultivated country such as England 
was in the middle ages, and such as parts of Ireland and France are, suffers more 
from the failure of a crop than a population like that of England now, whose 
income is derived from the several sources of agriculture, manufactures and com- 
merce. It is not the less true that the partial destruction of the crops is an 
immense loss to the country." 

In the same year (1846) Dr. Farr read before the Statistical 

Society of London a most valuable paper: The Influence of 

Scarcities and of the High Prices of Wheat on the Mortality of 

the People of England [Statistical Journal, vol. ix, p. 158], wherein 

he says: — 

'• If we may judge from the habits of the best and most vigorous races, man 
would appear to be able to live on great varieties of food ; but in respect to the 
quantity of nutritive matter, the law of his system is less flexible. In the cold, 
or engaged in hard work, he requires a large quantity of nutriment, and he soon 
becomes unable to take active exercise if the supply fall below a given point. 
Dalton — and subsequently Liebig — have shown that a certain number of ounces of 
carbon is burnt in the body, to keep up its slightly-varying temperature ; and that 
nitrogenous matter is required to replace the particles destroyed in the evolution 
of sensation, muscular actions and otW ftnK&aD& " 

the World ; Past and Present. 253 

After reviewing the periods of scarcity in the history of Great 
Britain, and the prices of provisions at various periods, he 
proceeds : — 

" The causes of a high mortality are various, but the greater number of known 
causes may be referred to five heads — 1. Excessive cold or heat. 2. Privation of 
food. 3. Effluvirtl poisons generated in marshes, foul prisons, camps, cities; 
and epidemic diseases, such as typhus, plague, smallpox, and other zymotic 
diseases. 4. Mechanical and chemical injuries. 5. Spontaneous disorders to 
which the structure of the human organisation renders it liable. The first three 
classes of independent causes vary in intensity from year to year ; and as each 
will separately produce the effect which we are investigating, namely, an increase 
of deaths, it must be evident that this effect will not always vary as privation, or 
as any one of the class of causes. For instance, the sweating sickness, said to 
have broken out in Richmond's camp, spread through England and destroyed 
great numbers. It was a poison in the air, and, like other poisons, its fatal action 
was not stopped by abundance of food, although its ravages, if aided by famine, 
might have been rendered more deadly. So of the black death in 1348, the 
plague of 1665, the cholera of 1832. 

" Then, low prices do not always denote plenty, nor high prices scarcity. And 
if high prices increase the mortality, any great mortality has a tendency to 
increase the price of provisions. Thus in 1349 'the price of every kind of 
cattle was much reduced; they wandered about in herds without herdsmen. 
Corn of all kinds was so abundant that no one gathered it/ Workmen were 
scarce, a 'great part' of them having been destroyed, and demanded high 

" These great disturbing causes and the imperfections of the returns require, 
for the elimination of their effects, a series of observations extending through a 
century. The concurrent evidence of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
appears to me to justify the inference that high prices of wheat — I mean relatively 
high — irrespective of the other necessaries of life, had then a tendency to increase 
the mortality of London." 

Much other information of interest is contained in Dr. Farr's 

1862. — An inquiry was made by direction of the Privy Council 
into the nourishment of the distressed operatives of Lancashire 
and Cheshire — distressed by reason of the " cotton famine " then 
prevailing. This inquiry was conducted by Dr. Edward Smith, 
M.D. ; and in his report was contained a theoretic estimate of the 
minimum quantity of food on which human life could reasonably 
be expected to subsist ; and that estimate formed the scientific basis 
for such advice as was given to the cotton towns on the subject of 
their allowances for the poor. Its purport was, that in order to 
avert starvation- diseases an average woman's daily food ought to 
contain at least 3,900 grains of carbon, with 180 grains of nitrogen, 
i.e., for the woman about the same quantity of the nutritive 
elements as is contained in 2 lbs. of good wheaten bread ; and for 
the man about one-ninth more. 

1867. — In the thirteenth detailed report of the Registrar- General 
for Scotland, Dr. Stark, in reporting on the deaths, &c, of this 
year, says: — 

254 Walford — On the Famines of 

"In countries where the mass of the population is dependent for then 
sustenance on the crops which they raise, and where they have little or no external 
trade, it is the crops which are the great regulators of the mortality, after the 
weather. For if the crops partially or wholly fail, the price of the food rises so 
high as to be beyond the power of purchasing by the lower classes. In tuck 
countries, therefore, the amount of sickness and death almost invariably rises and 
alls with the price of the provisions. When provisions are abundant, and 
consequently cheap, the amount of sickness is small, and the death-rate low ; but 
a failure of the crops almost invariably brings a high amount of sickness, and 
the death-rate becomes excessive/' 

In Scotland, during the operation of the Registration Act, he 
had not f onnd this law in operation. 

Price of Wheat in England. 

The following Table (XIV) is added in view of bringing into 
one focus the results (as affecting one principal article of food) 
of all the efforts, legislative and general, which have been made 
during the last eight centuries to counteract the effects of recurring 
periods of scarcity in England. If it had so chanced that in 
this country (as in the case in the West Indies, and perhaps in 
some few other portions of the globe) the supply of food had 
always been fully equal to the wants of the population, there would 
have been no necessity for any legislative restrictions at all. We 
may fairly say then that all the mass of legislation which we have 
reviewed has been designed to prevent the occurrence of undue 
fluctuations in the supply of food, and hence will necessarily have 
exercised its influence upon the prices embraced in the following 
table. It follows therefore that at least since legislative influences 
were brought into play the prices recorded in the table are not those 
which have resulted naturally; but that they are artificial prices, 
modified to a now unknown extent by the influences we have 
recorded ; and some of these are stated to have existed long before 
the dates ab which they became recorded in our statutes. The 
regulations indeed (or some of them) detailed in the preceding 
tables had been proclaimed orally from the market cross as being 
by the command of the sovereign. When written laws came into 
fashion, these were made to embody those yet earlier ordinations. 

I confess it would be to me a matter of much interest to know 
the extreme range of prices which any famine has produced, where 
matters have simply been allowed to run their natural course. It 
is seen however that in such a case it is the poor who must be of 
necessity sacrificed, as their resources for purchasing food would be 
the sooner exhausted, and that therefore the wealth of the country, 
i.e., its monetary resources, must always be an important element 
in the consideration of the influence of famines. Where money 
will not bring food, and a scarcity continues, the people must all 

the World; Past amd Present. 255 

die out, unless such as have the means migrate forthwith to some 
land better supplied. I suspect in the eastern nations migrations 
have often been enforced by scarcity of food. With pastoral tribes 
the migration recurs with the change of seasons ; the inhabitants 
are always following up their food supplies. A stationary popula- 
tion is of course always dependent for its sustenance upon the food 
supplies it can either produce or purchase. With such a people the 
price of food must always be regulated by two main factors — the 
seasons and the facilities or otherwise for obtaining foreign supplies. 

In the preparation of the following table it has been necessary, 
in order to make the comparison of price consistent throughout the 
entire period over which it extends, to adjust the prices actually 
recorded (in the currency of the period) to the standard of present 
values. In this I have availed myself of the labours of several who 
have given much time to the subject — they are all named in notes 
appended, in relation to the particular part of the table resulting 
from their labours. I fear there may be a little disjointedness con- 
sequent upon treatment by several hands, but it is probably not 
very material on the whole. 

I have sought by means of explanatory notes to draw attention 
briefly to the causes of the rise and fall of price at different periods. 
Reference to the preceding tables at the corresponding dates will 
complete this comparison, and in a certain sense reduce all that is 
contained in this and the previous part into one chronological 

By the term " price of wheat " too must be understood the 
average price as far as this has been capable of ascertainment. I 
think as illustrating the exact conditions and circumstances of the 
country at each period, a record of the highest and lowest prices 
would have been of more value; but these would be almost 
impossible of systematic compilation within the required space. 

Again, I have prefixed an almost never-failing cause of dis- 
turbance in the price of grain, I mean the advent of " peace " or 
" war." The occurrence of the latter has in almost every instance 
driven up the price — realising the meaning of the old phrase, " war 

I think this table will be useful in the pages of the Journal of 
the Society for many purposes beyond that immediately before us.* 

* Up to this date (1877), at least during the present generation (and we have 
not the means of going further hack), the price of food has been regarded and 
proclaimed as the ruling factor in determining the marriage-rate in England and 
Wales. But the Registrar General in adjusting his account with Hymen and Co., 
now discovers that " the price of coala " is becoming a ruling factor in matrimony ; 
for the marriage-rate perceptibly declines in those districts where coal mining has 
been less prosperous and remunerative ; but this only (I assume) because the wage 
earning power is diminished, 



"Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XIV. — The Price of Wheat in England and Wales from the Tear 
A.D. 1000 (intermittent during the First Two Centuries and a Half), 
with a Statement of the Probable Causes Affecting the Price t as Peace 
or War, Abundance or Scarcity, Legislative Interferences, <&c* 

Note. — The values in column 3 are given in money of the present day. By 
" Winchester measure " is meant a quarter of 8 bushels of 8 gallons each. 

Peace or 






















of Wheat per 















i 6 

i 6 

i 6 

i 6 

- 15 3* 

- 15 3* 

Notes, Explanatory, be. 

[The money values in this column are not enlarged, but are 
quoted as given by the respective authors cited.] 

1000. Ethelred II, an Anglo-Saxon king, was 
now on the throne. The purchasing price of 
land was from $d. to is. 3d. per acre ; a horse 
was worth il. lys. 6d. ; a mare il. $s. ; a cow 6s. ; 
a sheep is. 3d. ; a goat zs. <)d. ; a mule 15*. ; an 
ox js. 6d. The price of wheat as here given is 

1003. A Land Tax of 1*. 3d. for every hyde of 
land first imposed* 

1004. Famine. 

1008. Each 310 hydes of land were taxed to 
furnish a ship ready for war ; and every 8 hydes 
one horseman. England was computed to 
contain 243,600 hydes. 

1013. Sweyn, a Danish king, ascended the English 

1014. Canute succeeded Sweyn on the throne. 

1017. Canute became king of England. He 
levied a Dane- gelt of 2i6,oooZ. ; but this was not 
collected till 1039. 

Note. — The Saxons and Danes at this period 
were accustomed to live under feudal laws ; they 
were mostly addicted to arms and chivalry ; and 
they only practised arts and agriculture to the 
extent their necessities compelled them. 

1036. Harold ascended the throne. 

1039. Hardicanute became king. 

The collection of the Dane-gelt caused an in- 

1041. Edward the Confessor, 
ascended the throne. 

a Saxon king, 

1041-43. Wheat dearer than it had been known 
within the memory of man. Famine caused by 
lightning burning grain in the field ; followed by 


the World; Past and Present, 


Table XIV. — The Price of Wheat in England and Wales — Contd. 

Peace or 

Peace ... 



11 •••■ 

Civil war 
Peace .... 


Civil war 


Peace .... 

tt •••■ 

1 1 •••• 

War .... 

Peace .... 

it •••< 


It •••' 




it •••' 

Civil war 

Peace .... 

tt •••■ 


it •••• 

a •••• 

it •••• 

. it •••• 

it •••• 

» .... 

» .... 

ti •••• 

» .... 

a •••• 

„ .... 

»» •••• 
Civil war 

a •••• 

w •••• 
11 •••• 

War .... 




of Wheat per 




£ s, d. 

- 14 6 

- 14 6 

- 15 - 

- 3 

Notes, Explanatory, fee. 

1054. Terrible famine. 

1066. Harold II began to reign. With his death 
ended the Saxon period, which had prevailed with 
varying fortunes for six centuries. 

William the Conqueror landed. The price 
of wheat from a.d. 1000 to this date is conjec- 
tured to have averaged 3*. 6d. a quarter. 

1067. A colt sold for zs. +\d. ; a calf for a like 

Note. — Whole armies of the English, including 
large numbers of yeomen, were transported to 
defend the foreign territories of the Conqueror. 
Agriculture suffered much in consequence. 

1087. William II ascended the throne. 

1088. Oats sold at is, id. per quarter. 

Note. — William II followed the steps of his 
father. He taxed the land so heavily that agri- 
culture was neglected. Most serious famines 
necessarily ensued. 

1095. The purchase of land was at a very low 
price, occasioned by the Crusade to the Holy 
Land. The religious houses bought many estates. 
An ox sold for i-fos. > a ram same price. 

Note. — In this short reign of thirteen years 
four famines are recorded. 

258 Walpobd — On the Famines of 

Table XIV. — The Price of Wheat in England and Wales — Contd. 

Peace or 



• • • • 



• •• • 



• • • • 



a • • 



• •• • 



• #•• 



• •• • 



• ••• 



• • • • 



• • • • 



• •«• 






• ••• 



• ••• 



• • • • 



• • • • 



• •• t 



• ••• 



• • • • 



• ••• 



• • • ■ 



• ••• 



• •at 


Civil war 





• ••• 



• ••a 



• • •* 



• • • • 



• ••• 






• • a • 



• ••• 



« • • • 



• a • • 


Civil war 

















• •• • 



« •» • 



• • • • 



• ••• 



m • • t 



• • • • 



• • • • 



• • • ■ 



• ••• 



• ••• 



of Wheat per 




£ 8. d. 

- 5 6 

18 7 
16 6 

- 18 7 

- i 3* 

Notes, Explanatory, fee. 

1100. Henry I began to reign*. Sheep were sold 
for is. 6\d. each. 

1100. On the marriage of his daughter Matilda, 
Henry I laid an impost of 3*. upon every hyde of 
land. Bent of land was 1*. 6d. per acre. 

1111. Severe winter, destroyed agricultural pro- 
duce, and caused severe famine, and mortality of 
cattle, poultry, &c. 

1115. The coin was observed to be greatly clipped, 
and steps were taken to improve it. 

1120. About this date rents, which had been for- 
merly paid in kind, became payable in money. 

1125. The custom now introduced that the tenants 
of the king's lands were to supply him and his 
court with provisions and carriage gratis when he 
travelled, caused many of them to desert their 

1130. A standard was fixed for the regulation of 
weights and measure.. * 

1135. Stephen ascended the throne. Feuds 
sprang up between the barons. 

1145. The price of an ox was 9*. $\d. 

1149. Coinage complications. 

the World ; Past and Present 


Table XIV. — The Price of Wheat in England and Wales— Contd. 









































74 | 






























of Wheat per 




£ 8. d. 

- 3 ii 

• 3 ii 

- 5 6 

- 5 3 






i 17 

Notes, Explanatory, &e. 

1154. Henry II ascended the throne — first of the 
House of Plantagenet. 

1155. The king repaired the coin, and ordered 
that his money only should be current. Oats 
sold for i*. -\d. per quarter. 

1164. The carcase of a fat ox sold for $8. i\d., a 
fat sheep for is. -\d. 

1177. A fat ox sold for 3*. ^d. ; a fat sheep for 
1*. -\d. 

1180. Debased coin called in. 

1184. (30 Henry II.) Madox, in his Baronia 
Anglica (c. 14), records that in this year 33 cows 
and 2 bulls cost but 8/. 7*. money of that age ; 
500 sheep, 22I. los., or about iofrf. per sheep; 
66 oxen, 18I. 3*. ; 15 breeding mares, zl. 12s. 6d. j 
and 22 hogs, il. 28, 

1188. A new Crusade was proclaimed. A tax of 
one-tenth on all movable goods was imposed. 

1189. Richard I ascended the throne ; he re- 
mitted the Dane-gelt. 

1191. Labourers' wages at Croyland was tfd. per 

1193. A tax of 15*. 6d. laid on every hyde of 

1196. One hundred acres of land were let for 
$1. 28. j an ox sold for 128. $d.\ a labouring 
horse 1 is. $d. ; a sow 3*. ; a sheep with fine 
wool 28. yd. ; with coarse wool 1*. 6\d. A law 
enacted that there should be but one weight and 
one measure throughout the land ; unhappily 
not enforced. 

1199. John ascended the throne. The price of 
wheat during the period 1066-1199 probably 
averaged 3*. id. per quarter. 

1200. Beer more generally brewed, principally for 
the use of the gentry. It was employed before 
this date in the administration of the Sacrament. 
The Council of Winchester this year substituted 
wine. Bed wine was 1*. 6\d. per gallon. 

1202. Coin again debased. 


Walford — On the Famines of 

Table XTV. — The Price of Wheat in England and Wales — Contd. 

Peace or 



War ... 




















Oivil war 




















































































" \ 



of Wheat per 




£ 8. 

1 17 

2 1 




l 17 
i 17 


i 17 ** 

- lO 

- IO 

- 6 

- 6 

* 9 

2 I 




3 14 5 

Notes, Explanatory, See. 

1205. Peas and beans sold for \l. -*. Sd. per 

1206. Oats were 10*. +d. per quarter. 

Note. — The land at this date was under the 
Pope' 8 interdict. 

1215. Magna Chart a granted. 

1216 Henry III ascended the throne. Sea coals, 
i.e. sea-borne coals, were first used in the south 
of England. License was given to the people 
of Newcastle to work their mines. 

1217. The price of ale fixed. 

1222. Great storms, with lightning and immense 
floods in England, commencing in May and ex- 
tending into the following year. The stipend of 
a priest at this date was 10/. 6s. Sd. per annum. 
He was not expected to support a curate. 

1225. The hire of a cart with two horses was 
is. yd. per day ; with three horses 3*. y\d. 

1232. A great frost began at Christmas and lasted 
till Candlemas without snow, rendering the 
ground unfit to be tilled. 

1234. Great famine and extensive mortality. 
The interest of money is recorded as having been 
40 per cent, this year, 

1237* Barley was 6s. i\d. per quarter; oats 
is. \\d. 

1240. Gold coinage was first introduced about 
this date 

1243. The king exported 100,000 quarters o* 
wheat and 5,000 quarters of oats for the use of 
his army in France; but so abundant was the 
harvest that the price of grain was not much 
affected thereby. Peas were 6s. z\d. per quarter. 

1246. The coin so " egregiously clipped" as to 
put wheat at famine prices. 

1251. The king fixed the assize of bread in propor- 
tion to the price of wheat, ranging from 34. id. 
to \l. is. id. per quarter; the first precedent of 
this sort having been set in the reign of John. 

1255. The rate of interest of money raised to 
50 per cent, by reason of the export of coin. 

the World; Past and Present 


Table XIV. — The Price of Wheat in England and Wales — Contd. 

Peace or 

















of Wheat per 




£ 8. d. 

* 9 7 

- 5 9* 


- 6 i 

- 3 nt 

- 3 

- 4 

- 4 

- 5 

- 6 4 4 

- 6 io| 

- 6 4* 

- S 5l 

- 6 









- 5 

- 4 

- 5 

- 4 "# 

- 6 -f 

- 5 "t 

- 6 ni 

- 4 "I 

- 5 4* 

- 2 iot 

- 3 -f 

- 4 

- 6 

- 5 

- 5 

- 8 3 i 

- 9 

- 6 





4 9* 

5 ^ 




- 4 "t 

- 4 it 

- 5 9t 

- 4 IQ t 

Notes, Explanatory, &e. 

1258. The first outline of a Commons Parliament 
secured this year. 

The prices given down to this date are mostly 
drawn from Sir Charles Whitwobth'b Enquiry 
into Prices, 1768. 

1259. From this date the prices are supposed to 
represent the average of those which prevailed 
in various parts of the kingdom, as compiled by 
Professor T. Rogebs. See 1400. 

1266. The assize of bread was again regulated 
by statute of this year. 

1270. The Chronicon Precioswn (published 1707) 
states that wheat ranged from 4.I. 16s. to 61. 8*. 
per quarter this year. Sir Charles Whitworth 
quotes 14Z. 175. 6d. with a rise to 19Z. 16*. yd. 
per quarter. 

1272. During the reign of Henry III, which 
terminated this year, barley was reported to be 
zs. per quarter; oats, 1*. ; a good horse 10*. 
Edward I began to reign. 

The Common Council of London made regu- 
lations for markets. 

1286. Such a storm of rain, thunder and light- 
ning fell on St. Margaret's night, that wheat came 
by degrees to 16*. the quarter. — Chronicon Pre* 

1287. This is the lowest average price of which 
we have any record until 1454 ; it had not been 
so low since 1140. See note, 1288. 

The Synod of Exeter decreed every parochial 
church should be endowed with 10I. 6s. Sd. per 
annum. The rectors were to give their curates 
61. 49. per annum. 

1288. So great a plenty of corn and scarcity of 
money that wheat was sold by the quarter at 
1*. 6d. — Chronicon Preciosum. 

The summer exceedingly hot, and many died 

in consequence. — Penkethman. 
1290. The 17th Edward I (1289) great hail fell 

in England, and after ensued great rain, that the 

year following wheat was raised from 3d. the 

bushel to i6d. — Peneethman. 

Edward I, after seizing the alien priories, 

allowed every monk izl. is. $d. per annum. 
During this reign a fat capon sold for i±d. ; 

a goose for +d. ; and a lamb for +d. 
1297. The king seized 2,000 quarters of wheat 

and 2,000 quarters of oats out of every shire in 

England for the use of his army going abroad. 
1299. An Act of the Common Council of London 

regulating the price of victuals. 
1302. Bakers of London first allowed to sell 

bread in their own shops. 

262 Walfobd— On the Famines of 

Tablb XIV,— The Price of Wheat in England and Wales— Contd. 

Peace or 




















of Wheat per 






£ 8. d. 

- 3 XI $ 

- 5 6* 

- 6 ii* 

- 7 9$ 

- 7 -* 

- 4 5i 

- 4 "t 

- 5 6f 

- 8 4 t 

- 14 iof 

- 15 ll i 

- 8 3* 

- 4 ** 

- 5 9i 

- 6 5 

- 11 7f 

- 8 nt 

- 7 5$ 

- 7 

- 5 

- 3 ri 

- 3 " 

-6 6% 

- 7 2i 

- 7 "± 

- 4 8* 

- 4 it 

- 4 -* 

- 5 3i 

- 4 11 

- 3 7 

- 3 ** 

- 5 1Q t 





6 io£ 

6 7t 

4 * 

5 5* 
8 3* 

10 ii 

7 *i 

4 *i 

5 3* 

Notes, Explanatory, he. 

1306. The price of wheat during the reign of 
John, Henry III, and Edward I 'is said